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Print Business Differentiation

What makes your print business unique? This is a question every print business should ponder over the new year. In 2018 how will you guide your company to create differentiation? Will it be based on the past or the reality of our shared future?

By Jennifer Matt
Published: January 10, 2018

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Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Patrick Whelan on Jan 10, 2018

And yet another incredible article. Thank you Jennifer. I believe differentiation is the most important thing printers can do. Your suggestions are spot on but I think there are also other ways for differentiation. Such as positioning their brands as the most competent, go to resource for services. Always be building trust and credibility. Communicate and engage consistently with customer centric content is one way and yes, I'm biased because I offer content solutions to printers but also, because I see first hand how effective they can be. Thanks again for your incredible insights and best wishes for 2018!

 

By Howie Fenton on Jan 10, 2018

I agree with Patrick on this one Jennifer: great article and I too believe that workflow can be a significant competitive differentiator. In my opinion the perceived value of the workflow depends on the customer and the application.

For some customers and certain applications workflow is the most important differentiator. VistaPrint is a good example of a company that combines several on line features such as: template driven design, price sheet pricing, the best automated up-selling process, a host of consistent branded products, and a hard to beat price. Together that results in a significant competitive differentiator that is hard to beat for new start-ups and small business.

This is just as relevant for enterprise customers. Many of the same features offered by VistaPrint can be offered by service providers to Enterprise customers. This includes: on line template driven stationary products with brand approved design, other branded products, price sheet pricing, and job / shipping tracking.

Some service providers report that they can offer even more features and advantages for the Enterprise. This includes: a exclusive and secure web portal for ordering, local access for approvals, special negotiated prices, and streamlined charge backs to the correct cost center in the Enterprise. Of course online and mobile ordering is growing trend but some service providers argue that the most important workflow advantage is a willingness to customize the workflow to optimize the supply chain for the Enterprise.

I think it is intersection of customer need and specific applications which determines if workflow is perceived as a significant competitive advantage. For those customers and the right applications, service providers can create just as a significant competitive advantage as VistaPrint and offer even more value added services!

 

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