Commentary & Analysis
Dscoop University: A Competitive Advantage
At Dscoop9, the organization debuted Dscoop University, a member educational initiative announced last year that has come to fruition in a big way. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne provides insight for our readers into the competitive advantage that this offering provides for Dscoop members.
By Cary Sherburne
Published: April 3, 2014
Dscoop9 was, again, an outstanding conference, but as the organization is quick to point out, Dscoop is much more than an annual conference. Dscoop University is a great example of that in action. My WhatTheyThink colleague Barb Pellow provided a general overview of the event, but for purposes of this article, I wanted to dive deeper into Dscoop University and the competitive advantage it can provide to members.
In her article, Pellow quotes John Tenwinkel, Director of Dscoop University, “Dscoop University is designed to provide industry-leading personalized education to help users enhance their corporate strategies and grow their businesses. This blended learning environment offers 24/7 access to training, on-demand content, live-streaming and downloadable resources, and in-person courses. The content is tailored to various job functions, including business owners, sales and marketing, and operations. Dscoop University is designed to ensure that educational opportunities don’t end with the conference.”
Subsequent to the event, Dscoop was kind enough to provide me with access to the portal so I could look for myself. Materials are organized into four categories:
- Grow Your Business: Sales and marketing education focused on increasing your top line.
- Optimize Your Production: Operations and technical offerings geared to improve your efficiency.
- Manage Your Business: Business management instruction to support your organization.
- Industry Intelligence: Understanding the outside influences on your business.
Of course, I jumped right to the industry intelligence section, and was quite impressed with what I found there. The first course listed is titled Engaging Customers with Augmented Reality, and is a primer on this emerging technology. The course includes an Augmented Reality white paper, a PowerPoint presentation with usable data from the white paper, and a podcast with an executive summary of the data. It is designed to not only educate the participant about augmented reality, but provides tools (via the PowerPoint presentation) to help participants put this valuable research to work for in their own businesses.
At the conference, Tenwinkel talked about “training units,” the “currency” for Dscoop University. Member companies are automatically granted a certain number of training units and may buy more. For the Augmented Reality session, 20 training units, or an equivalent of $20, is the posted cost, and that’s a real bargain.
At launch, this section had nine different courses, on topics such as NFC tags, mobile codes, using print to engage the customer, and a vertical specialty course on the opportunities provided by car manuals.
Other sections have more than a dozen courses at launch, and more to come, I am sure. Many are webinars or online courses, or have multiple materials as resources and take-aways for the student. In the Optimize Your Production session, there are courses specific to operations management, and technical courses for both prepress and press.
The portal includes a calendar for easy reference to live events with intriguing titles such as Meet Me at the Corner of Tech & Touch, a WebEx session introducing ways to enhance customer ROI with print collateral. As with many of the other sessions, it doesn’t stop at the WebEx itself. Dscoop University provides case studies, PowerPoint slides and InDesign files for a high impact campaign that students can personalize and distribute to clients.
Often we attend these types of sessions, and there are no clear actionable items outlined or specific materials provided to both continue and enhance the learning process. This certainly does not appear to be the case with the Dscoop University courses I browsed.
Tenwinkel and his team have done an outstanding job of populating the Dscoop University platform with valuable content that members can use to immediately enhance their performance and business strategies. While content is in English now, there are definitely plans to provide sessions in other languages, since Dscoop is truly a global organization. This is a model that other user groups should take notice of as they think about ways to extend the value of their own organizations throughout the year.
It is also worth mentioning another initiative that was launched at Dscoop9, and that is the Tell Your Story Sales Program. This is a marketing program that can be adapted to any printing business and includes a comprehensive set of sales and marketing tools and best practices designed to help members tell a better story about how they can help customers get their messages out through communications and campaigns. Members can order either a printed or a digital version of the kit. (Or both, I presume.) It is a step-by-step guide that helps members plan, promote, conduct, and follow up on a customer event. One member who tested the kit indicated his company had netted more than 30 new projects in the first month. Impressive.
For anyone who has attended Dscoop, it is an impressive event, and could easily be called a benchmark event for our industry. The Dscoop team, and the more than 100 busy executives that volunteer to make each event better than the last, somehow manage to do so, while still running their own successful businesses. And they continue to add other year-round value as well. Dscoop University and Tell Your Story are just two examples of this in action.
Now, with active, self-supporting regions in Europe (EMEA) and Asia Pacific, and Latin America in their sights this year, it has become a truly global organization.