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Commentary & Analysis

FREE SPECIAL: ATTENTION Digital Printers and Vendors: Talk to Us, Not at Us

The sun is beginning to shine,

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: April 19, 2002

The sun is beginning to shine, and the weather is getting warmer as the seasons begin to change. The season’s changing is our signal that a new time of year is approaching.

Likewise, in our industry, we also have signals that the times are changing. Recently, many print buyers found their way to Tysons Corner, VA to attend the Print Buyer’s Oasis. This conference was sponsored by printbuyersonline.com, a web site dedicated to the Print Production and Print Buyer Community.

Next week, many Print Production and Print Buying Professionals will join print company management in New York City for the Print OnDemand Conference.

The winds of change are blowing in our industry and that wind is called Print On Demand (POD) and Variable Data Printing (VDP).

This technology has begun to spread its wings and more and more Print Production Professionals are looking for ways to bring their clients into this technology. What are we, the Print Production Community, looking for? Whether it is POD or VDP, the questions will change.

For POD, they tend to be cost and timing issues. We have a short run project, we need it quick, how does POD compare to traditional offset. Each project is different (shout it from the rooftops fellow Print Production Experts...let your management hear it: "WE DO NOT BUY AN OFF-THE-SHELF COMMODITY!" - but that is another article).

From my discussions it would appear our questions regarding VDP deal with the knowledge and training required to "sell" this new technology to our clients and creative staff.

- What programs are needed to set up our graphics documents?
- What is the time frame for putting a program together?
- What are the limitations of your equipment?
- How do I bring my clients, creative and account staff "up to speed" on this technology?
- Are there experts on your staff who will partner with my company during presentations?
- What other projects have you run and what pitfalls did you experience?
- Do you have information, from projects you have produced, regarding R.O.I., which your customers have shared?
- Do you have a contact name from a client who has run a program, and who I can call?

Nothing earth-shattering there. Simple information from our vendor-partners is all we require. Many of my conversations regarding VDP made me aware that the Print Production Community is looking for a new technology and VDP is the flavor of the month. Don’t get me wrong here, I think this is the future...I was not trying to be flippant. What worries me, however, is that, if we do not get the proper information from our vendor-partners, we will be unable to move forward and we may miss the parade.

SO, the sales reps must be extremely knowledgeable, or they need to be accompanied by the firm’s resident expert when making a sales call. If our sales rep is clueless, there is no hope for the Print Production Community.

Xerox and Heidelberg were well represented at Print Oasis and they will be major players at OnDemand. A reminder to those companies... you can sell the print community all the equipment you have, but if the Print Production Community is unaware of the benefits to this technology, the machines will continue to sit idle. Your showing at Print Oasis was a strong marketing move and I applaud you for it. It was a good start, but you need to be more involved with the Print Production Community, with the advertising agencies, with the consumers of this technology.

Talk to us, not at us.


The more we communicate, the better we will be at our careers.



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