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Jennifer Matt

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.

Recent Commentary & Analysis from Jennifer Matt

Displaying 1-24 of 209 articles

Print MIS Product Spotlight: printIQ

Published November 16, 2017

The Print MIS/ERP system is the foundation to your overall print business technology stack. It is the system that should run your business. Many Print MIS solutions have and continue to expand their support for a diversified printing operation. One of printIQ’s strengths is its approach to and the execution of a modular approach to supporting additional manufacturing processes

 

Solution Selling of Print: Find the Challenges Important to the Customer

Published November 15, 2017

The solution sale only works if you’re solving the problems that are most important to the customer. The race to find solutions often results in sales teams wasting tremendous effort solving the wrong customer challenges. When you first agree on the challenges and their importance to the customer – solution selling works.

 

Premium Content When to Buy a Different Print Software Solution

Published November 8, 2017

Purchasing new software is exciting; it’s full of potential, the vendors invest a lot in making the sales process enjoyable. This influences our reaction to when our existing technology gets hard or frustration – it can feel easier to quit and buy a different platform thinking that will solve all our challenges.

 

Fall in Love with the Problem

Published November 1, 2017

We are biased towards solutions when the most valuable thing we can do it clearly define the problem first. The tech startup world calls this innovator bias (falling in love with solutions) – there are always many ways to solve something, the more time you spend understanding the problem, the better chances of getting to the optimal solution.

 

Premium Content Boring Execution as a Differentiator

Published October 25, 2017

There is no magic innovation button, there is a boring execution button that can differentiate your business. Consistent execution on complex tasks is a path to profitability – checklists are a key tool to help you get there.

 

The Print Industry Education Gap

Published October 18, 2017

There is an educational gap in the print industry, our industry events are still centered around buying and selling equipment rather than preparing printers to compete in the internet age.

 

Premium Content When Your Print Business Workflows Create Unnecessary Artifacts

Published October 11, 2017

Everyone is talking about workflow automation; this article is about our attachment to artifacts of common print workflows. We have failed to upgrade our thinking beyond the “page” metaphor for sharing information and gaining agreement.

 

Building Your Business in the Age of Google

Published October 4, 2017

Are you interrupting a lot of people to find the few who are in need of your products and services? Or are you working very hard to be found by the customers that are actively seeking out your services?

 

Is Your Print Business Available Online?

Published September 20, 2017

What can your customers do online with your print business? How easy is it for your customers to do business with you? Are you asking your customers to use their precious time because your ordering process is inefficient and not available online?

 

Premium Content Identify Leadership Skills by Introducing New Print Software

Published September 6, 2017

Leadership is about embracing change as an iterative process of improving upon how your business operates. In modern times that equates to getting software to do more work for your business so your human labor can focus on higher-value activities.

 

Premium Content Sell Workflows That Result in Printed Artifacts

Published August 30, 2017

Print is an artifact of a business process/workflow. You should get very curious about the overall workflow so that you can provide more value than just the print. This is the path to embedding your services with a customer and increasing the areas where you can add value.

 

Premium Content Hidden Impact of Manual Workflows

Published August 23, 2017

A manual, labor intensive workflow makes your print business inefficient – that is obvious. The hidden impact of manual workflows is the impact it might be having on your customer services team’s growth mindset.

 

Premium Content Ask More Questions, Make Fewer Assumptions, Sell More

Published August 16, 2017

People buy workflows; therefore sales is a discovery process that reveals the challenges in their workflows that you might be in a position to solve. You have to ask more question and make fewer assumptions.

 

Premium Content How Well Does Your Staff Know Your Software?

Published August 9, 2017

We train on presses, we engage with the press vendors. We make sure operators are competent – why don’t we do the same for software solutions (especially Print MIS, production workflow, and web-to-print)?

 

Conversations on Print - Ep 3: Owning The Creative Relationship - Featuring Peter Gunning

Published August 4, 2017

Jennifer Matt talks with Peter Gunning, CEO of Grafenia about how owning the creative relationship has moved from print to the website - our industry needs to evolve with that change. Grafenia's Nettl brand provides print service providers the tools they need to compete in the digital world.

 

Premium Content Print Business Investments: Presses vs. Software

Published August 2, 2017

Successful print companies have always been re-investing in their business to remain competitors. Up until now, that investment centered around production equipment and systems. Technology in the form of software will be a primary differentiator moving forward.

 

Software with Print on the Side

Published July 26, 2017

Software is the toolset that enables you to solve the business challenges required to win the print that results from them. Your sales process is going to look like software as the main dish with print as a side dish.

 

The Intellectual Property Buried in Your Print Business

Published July 19, 2017

Every person in your business solves challenges every day with the tools they have at their disposal and the tools they are comfortable deploying. There is a rich set of intellectual property buried there which can be retrieved by listening and understanding how humans looks for ways to build trusted systems.

 

Premium Content Avoid Common and Costly Traps of Print Software Evaluation

Published July 12, 2017

Evaluating software is not a math problem, please don’t count the number of features and award the deal to the highest score. Print software must solve your challenges, in the order of importance to your business.

 

Premium Content Understanding Order Entry from Your Customer’s Perspective

Published June 28, 2017

Too many online order entry tools are discounted because the printer fails to see the value from their customer’s perspective. Don’t let your competitors use your customer experience to replace you.

 

Premium Content Print Software Evaluation – First Define the Problem It Solves

Published June 21, 2017

Every software tool sets out to solve a set of problems, all too often the problem is never defined because the sales process focuses on solutions, benefits, and features. Take the time to understand the problem print software solves and most importantly whether you have that problem!

 

Product Spotlight: Kodak PRINERGY Cloud

Published June 13, 2017

Your print business runs on software, more and more of that software is being delivered via the cloud where resources can be precisely controlled and scaling (both up and down) is configurable in real-time. Kodak’s flagship workflow product – PRINERGY Workflow is no exception to taking advantage of what cloud computing can do to a printer’s production workflow.

 

Conversations on Print - Ep 2: Being a Data Driven Company - Featuring Susan Moore

Published June 13, 2017

In this podcast we talk to Susan Moore about the various roles Susan has had in the printing industry: supplies sales, printing business owner, MIS platform provider. We talk about becoming a data-driven company and how MIS transitions are hard but they create a great opportunity to restructure your business model and to transition to today's world.

 

Software is our Primary Business Tool

Published June 7, 2017

Buy, implement, build – software is part of your everyday business life now. It is the primary tool of all businesses.

 

Understanding the Software Development Process

Published May 31, 2017

Making good software is like building a nice home, it takes multiple resources who are coordinated to deliver on your needs. The more a printer understands the software process, the better they will be at managing it for internal projects or influencing the software roadmap of their vendors.

 

Premium Content The Danger of Rushing to a Solution

Published May 24, 2017

We want to be efficient, we want to feel smart. When we hear even the first words of a challenge, we categorize it and start trying to solve it based on our available tool set. This prevents you from a real understanding of the problem.

 

Your Customer’s Lack of Change Management Kills Web-to-Print Adoption

Published May 17, 2017

People don’t like change, they need to be led through change because the transition between “how you’ve always done it” and the “new more tech-focused way to do it” can be a river of misery.

 

Premium Content Leading Technology Change

Published May 10, 2017

Change management is considered a soft skill (maybe because it can’t be measured easily in a spreadsheet). Change management can cause a lot of hard problems with technology change when it ignored.

 

Premium Content Strategy vs. Tactics in Print Software Projects

Published May 3, 2017

A print software strategy is a definition of where you want to end up – an objective, a goal for how you want all the software components in your business to work together.

 

Does This Print Software Fit into Your Technology Stack?

Published April 26, 2017

There is no “one software package” that runs your entire business. Businesses of all sizes have a technology stack (a collection of software). How well your technology stack fits together (like a beautiful puzzle) greatly determines your success in today’s market.

 

Clear Communication with Print Software

Published April 19, 2017

Clear communication is essential when implementing print software. When you don’t ask clarifying questions, you assume that if there were more relevant details about the integration they would have shared them with you. Do not assume. Ask clarifying questions. Be that annoying person who keeps asking questions.

 

Premium Content Excel, PDFs, Paper, and More People (automation-less)

Published April 12, 2017

We apply tools from our toolset to solve business challenges, often those tools create silos of data and processes inside our company that prevent us from becoming a truly data-driven organization.

 

Premium Content Print Software Execution is the Differentiator

Published April 5, 2017

I wish you could just buy the right print software product and it would make you successful. You can’t. Success with software takes your execution. Software doesn’t implement itself, vendors can’t implement it without your active involvement.

 

Premium Content Embrace the Stupid

Published March 29, 2017

You can call it change management, I prefer the wise words of Seth Godin – change requires you to embrace stupid. Our market requires all of us to keep learning, “the pre-learning state is stupidity.”

 

Premium Content What Makes Print Ecommerce Weird?

Published March 22, 2017

Selling print online requires knowledge of how to both accept artwork and deliver print assets to the manufacturing facility. Generic ecommerce firms don’t understand this which can cause printers to spend their time and money educating resources about what makes print ecommerce unique.

 

With Software Changes Maximize Learning, Avoid Fear

Published March 15, 2017

Mistakes are part of our lives and our businesses. Nobody likes to make them, how you react to your mistakes dictates what kind of business culture you’ll create. Software changes are an excellent environment to create a learning culture and avoid a fear based culture.

 

Conversations on Print - Ep 1: Make Print Easier to Buy - Featuring Jerry Kennelly

Published March 13, 2017

Jerry Kennelly started his print career in a sweat shop run by his parents in their basement. When a wall in your house has to be removed to get the press downstairs, you know you might be working the 3rd shift someday. Jerry is an entrepreneur, founder of Stockbyte, Tweak and the Junior Entrepreneur Programme in Ireland. In this podcast we talk about what Jerry has learned and how passionate he is about both the impact and value of print in our digital world.

 

Software Features are Trees - See the Forest

Published March 8, 2017

Step back and regroup. Stop looking at features and focus on the overall business objectives of your software solutions. All of us (vendors and printers) need to get out of the feature focus so we can make better software decisions AND make the software we have work better for us in spite of the lacking features.

 

Premium Content Assumptions Are the Enemy of Good Software Decisions

Published March 1, 2017

When both parties in the print software sales process make assumptions, poor decisions are made. Money is wasted. Time is squandered. Replace assumptions with clarifying questions so you come to a common understanding of the truth.

 

Preparing Questions for User Conferences – Dscoop 2017

Published February 22, 2017

User conferences are an incredible opportunity to load up on learning from the speakers, the vendors, and most importantly your peers. With Dscoop next week, this article covers the importance of the well-formed, thought out questions that can help you get the most out of events by preparing and focusing on your learning goals before you arrive!

 

Hiring a Developer Does Not Get You Good Software

Published February 15, 2017

Building good software takes a (small) village of people with distinct skills sets. Don’t try and build software with only a developer, you’ll end up with software that only developers will want to use!

 

Premium Content Set a Deadline for Print Software Transition

Published February 8, 2017

Retiring software solutions can be overwhelming. Continuing to pay maintenance on legacy software solutions is maddening. Start the process of transition by setting a realistic date – draw the line in the sand, rally your troops around what it takes to get from where you are today to throwing a retirement party for your legacy software.

 

Premium Content Top 3 Mistakes with Print Software Strategy

Published February 1, 2017

Your print software strategy is your responsibility. It requires strategic thinking to both define the challenges and the results you want to create (vision). Don’t make the common mistakes with your print software strategy.

 

Product Spotlight: KODAK PRINERGY Workflow Software 8

Published January 31, 2017

There are two major workflows that a job travels through in your print business. The production workflow which results in a printed product and the business workflow which results in an accurate invoice. The job must travel through both workflows; often in parallel and frequently requires some collaboration and/or communication between the workflows to reach both desired results - high-quality print product(s) delivered on-time and an error free invoice.

 

Premium Content Long-Term and Short-Term Print Software Priorities

Published January 25, 2017

Your business should be run by your print software systems; your people should run the systems. These print software systems require attention for both short-term initiatives and long-term strategy.

 

Premium Content Finding a Niche with Your Print Business

Published January 18, 2017

Finding a niche for your print business (a target market with specific pain points) is not about aiming small, it’s about FOCUS and EXECUTION to build a repeatable product offering and to dive deeper into learning about your customer’s problems.

 

EFI Connect 2017 Educational Sessions with Jennifer Matt

Published January 11, 2017

User group meetings create a space for you to find peers for collaboration. Use these meetings to find your people. Do not proceed in these disruptive market conditions on your own! I invite you to attend the sessions. For those of you who are not planning to attend, I want to provide you with some of the key learnings that will be delivered.

 

Premium Content Web-to-Print Solution Frustration

Published January 4, 2017

When people get frustrated with software, they are looking for an easy answer to get closure. One of the most common reactions to web-to-print frustration is to shop for a different solution. Before you start shopping, take a long hard look at your investment in really learning the web-to-print solution you already have.

 

Premium Content 3 Success Factors for Print MIS Implementations

Published December 21, 2016

Implementing a Print MIS is challenging, it requires a focus on end results without an attachment to “the way things have always been done”, persistence, and adaptability. Look for these personality traits in the people you assign to lead your Print MIS implementation.

 

Premium Content You Need Technical Leadership Inside Your Print Business

Published December 7, 2016

As software takes on a larger and larger role in your print business, your technical leader plays a greater role in all aspects of your business performance. With the right internal technical leader, software can deliver almost everything that was promised in the demo! Without the right technical leader, you’re going to feel like your software investment was a complete waste of money.

 

Print MIS Product Spotlight: PrintJobManager

Published November 30, 2016

Aleyant PrintJobManager™ is a cloud-based entry into the Print MIS market. Most printers will recognize Aleyant as the maker of the popular Aleyant Pressero™ web-to-print solution. Aleyant is entering the Print MIS market with a stand-alone solution PrintJobManage

 

Web-to-Print Product Spotlight: Design ‘N’ Buy

Published November 16, 2016

Your web-to-print needs to solve two core challenges, the challenge of e-commerce and the unique challenge of selling print online. Design ‘N’ Buy took a different strategy for getting to market with a print-enabled e-commerce solution. They left the e-commerce part to the open-source community by proactively integrating with the most popular open source e-commerce platforms.

 

Premium Content Print Software Enables Your Business to Scale

Published November 9, 2016

Scaling your print business requires the removal of bottlenecks from order inquiry to accurate invoice payment. Your Print MIS is the system of record that can drive you to a more efficient business and enable you to scale.

 

Premium Content Top 5 Web-to-Print Questions

Published November 2, 2016

Web-to-print is part of your self-service offering and an expectation of most customers. The following article covers the top five questions I hear around web-to-print.

 

Premium Content Fall in Love with Your Customer’s Problems

Published October 19, 2016

The most important thing you can do to thrive during times of disruption is to learn more about your customer’s problems. What you solved for customers in the past might not be relevant in the future, what you can solve in the future will reinvent may reinvent your business.

 

No More Isolated Print Software Solutions

Published October 12, 2016

Every print software decision needs to be considered within the context of your end-to-end workflow. Isolated or point solutions are costly both short and long term. As jobs travel through your production and business workflows – it is vital that the various pieces of print technology can communicate with each other without human intervention.

 

Premium Content Top 3 Challenges to the Print Software Sales Process

Published October 5, 2016

Mistakes get made during the print software sales process because there is a lack of common understanding, a pressure on the vendor to say yes to every challenge presented, and a tendency to focus on solutions rather than the problems.

 

Buying and Selling Print Software by the Pound

Published September 21, 2016

When you buy and sell software by the pound (# of features), you get distracted as a buyer as to what business challenge is actually most important to solve. As a vendor when you build software by the pound you keep adding without going back and refining the core features of your solution.

 

Premium Content The Number 1 Factor in Successful Print MIS Implementations

Published September 14, 2016

Implementing Print MIS software is an undertaking that touches every corner of your business. The belief system you go into this process with determines your success more than any other factor.

 

Premium Content Pixartprinting: VistaPrint’s Expansion into Upload-and-Print

Published September 7, 2016

Inevitably, Cimpress (parent company of VistaPrint) is expanding beyond its roots with the micro business and the business card product. Pixartprinting, a 2014 Cimpress acquisition, targets the creative professional with a 100% upload-and-print model supporting an ever growing collection of product workflows.

 

Premium Content Making Great Software is Humbling

Published August 31, 2016

Coding is one aspect of software. Making great software takes a team of well-coordinated resources. When we oversimplify software to just a coding event, we get unexpected results

 

Premium Content Creating Customer Convenience with Web to Print

Published August 24, 2016

Web-to-Print isn’t for the printer; it is a self-service option for your customers so that ordering from you is more convenient. Customer preference is strongly in favor of self-service options for virtually all business processes, print is no exception.

 

The Role of Live Events in the Print Industry

Published August 17, 2016

Going to live industry events is a great opportunity on many levels – get out of working in your business and focus on working on your business. Building relationships with peers and vendors is critical to your future success, live events are where these relationships are cemented.

 

Premium Content Maintaining Multiple Web-to-Print Solutions

Published August 10, 2016

Printers get frustrated with complex software solutions, this frustration often results in the purchase of additional complex software solutions. Don’t rush to buy your way out of the challenge – it might be more effective to learn your way out of it by doubling down on your commitment to the software you already have.

 

The Question is the Most Powerful Sales Tool

Published August 3, 2016

Customers come to printers to solve communication challenges. Transactional customers get their specific challenges solved. Transaction print is a tough business these days. Printers who inquire about and look to solve bigger picture challenges develop partners with their customers, moving above the transactional level.

 

Teach Your Daughters to Negotiate

Published July 27, 2016

The recent move by the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT), to ask for a raise is leading by example for women of all ages. Their performance from top to bottom has been exemplary, on and off the field, and for them, this would be a performance-based raise. As it turns out, simply “asking” requires the courage to work against how we’ve been socialized to behave as females.

 

Web-to-Print From the Customer’s Perspective

Published July 13, 2016

Web-to-Print software is sold to printing companies. Yet, the primary users of web-to-print solutions are a printing company's customers. This situation is the cause of many issues with the success of web-to-print programs. We have three perspectives at work (only one really matters).

 

Fall in Love with the Problems - That Software Solves

Published July 6, 2016

The biggest mistake in software decisions is relegating the discussion down to the feature level. The feature is a potential solution to an often ill-defined problem which may or may not be relevant to your business.

 

When Sales Isn’t Involved, Web-to-Print Projects Fail

Published June 29, 2016

If sales isn’t involved, your business-to-business (B2B) web-to-print project is going to fail. Web-to-print projects aren’t about features (solutions), they are all about solving the right customer challenges.

 

The User Experience is the Print Software Product

Published June 15, 2016

User experience is the product. 1,000 features does not necessarily equate to a valuable product. When features are embedded into a confusing an cumbersome user experience – they don’t get adopted.

 

Defining Product Workflows for Web-to-Print

Published June 1, 2016

A Product Workflow is a term I use in web-to-print projects; it defines the different offerings you enable online through self-service user interface. Defining terms is critically important to any project, product workflows is one of the key terms to every web-to-print project.

 

Premium Content Web-to-Print: Stop Forcing an E-Commerce Workflow

Published May 25, 2016

Print is a communication challenge solution. Typically, the printed product is but one part of a much larger challenge. When your sales people learn to take their “print googles” off and uncover the bigger picture challenge, they embed your company deeper into your customer’s business process and ultimately uncover more opportunities for printed products.

 

My Favorite (Mostly Free) Software Tools

Published May 18, 2016

Communication is the primary thing we all do for work. This article outlines some of my favorite tools for communicating, tracking how we use our time, capturing our ideas, organizing projects, and improving remote meetings.

 

Premium Content Top 5 Priorities for Your Print Business Website

Published May 4, 2016

Your print business website should be a living, engaging, and a results delivering part of your business growth plan. For business-to-business printers, this means delivering qualified leads to your sales team.

 

Premium Content Growing a Modern Print Business: Sales versus Marketing

Published April 27, 2016

Growing your business is more about marketing than it is about hiring more sales people today. The sales cycle is moving online where good marketing programs can nurture prospects from initial inquiry to paying customer.

 

Premium Content The Trapped Data of the Print Industry

Published April 20, 2016

The print industry’s technology is too closed, too proprietary, making it overly difficult for print businesses (the entities that make this whole ecosystem work) to access, use, distribute, and learn from the data their business’ generate every day. If we keep at this, we will choke off the only thing that matters (growing print businesses).

 

Web-to-Print Product Spotlight: Infigo

Published April 13, 2016

Technology decisions can be costly, not just in licensing/subscription fees but in the time and effort it takes your team to implement, learn, and launch technologies to your customers. One of the aspects of the Infigo product suite is the ability to add modules as you continue to diversify.

 

Peer Collaboration and the Optimization of Print Software

Published April 7, 2016

Find peers to collaborate with at all levels of your company. When your web-to-print person gets stuck, they should have life-lines to other printers who have the same technology. Don’t rely solely on the vendor. Industry events are the best places to meet peers who share your challenges.

 

Don’t Try and Train Your Customers

Published March 30, 2016

Your customers don’t want to be trained, your customers want you to make them look good in front of their boss, get them promoted, and generally make their lives easier. Don’t try and educate your customers, sell them on what’s in it for them if they adjust their behaviors (e.g. use your web-to-print system, submit print-ready PDF files, etc.)

 

Print Production Workflow Automation

Published March 23, 2016

One workflow for all job types results in wasted labor, unrealized profits, and slower turnaround times. The modern print business has to drive automation by creating different routes for different job types. The approach has to be strategic, because automation in one area can create congestion in another.

 

Premium Content Making Web-to-Print Part of Your Culture

Published March 16, 2016

Web-to-print is a strategic initiative that creates two service level paths through your organization; self-service and full-service. Your leadership is the key ingredient required for success.

 

Premium Content Marketing Your Print Business

Published March 9, 2016

As we move more business online, utilize digital communication channels, and look to diversify – our print business marketing becomes more critical to our overall business success.

 

Dscoop Collaboration Station – The Tech Talks

Published March 2, 2016

At Dscoop this year, we will be presenting a series of Tech Talks in the Dscoop Collaboration Station on the show floor. We are all on a steep learning curve when it comes to technology. Join us to get a dose of technology education across a wide range of topics. Bring your technology leaders to Dscoop; their importance to your business is growing!

 

Premium Content What Are Your Customers Hiring Web-to-Print Systems to Do?

Published February 24, 2016

Your web-to-print initiatives should be focused on the “jobs-to-be-done” for your customers. What can the customer “hire” your web-to-print system to do for them? Web-to-print ROI comes from a 100% focus from your customer’s perspective.

 

Is the Customer Always Right?

Published February 17, 2016

Customers ask for a lot, they want us to service them but they also need us to apply our expertise to their challenges. The customer can and should be challenged based on your expertise.

 

Build Collaboration into Your Meetings to Innovate

Published February 3, 2016

Business meetings can be horribly ineffective, yet with a set of small hacks you can unleash the productivity and innovation your company desperately needs. Here’s the good news, all you need is some Post-It Notes and a phone.

 

Print Software Success Requires Collaboration at All Levels

Published January 27, 2016

As technology continues to change at a rapid rate, collaboration needs to extend into the functional areas of your business. Don’t stop at creating a peer group for print owners, encourage your accounting lead to get into a peer group, each functional area should have multiple sources of knowledge sharing.

 

Web-to-Print Product Spotlight: Propago Marketing Management Platform

Published January 27, 2016

In studying the Propago product, a consistent theme reverberated throughout the product; this product was built based on real-time feedback from live users in a large scale deployment. The approach to solving the business challenges of web-to-print are rooted in data-driven decisions rather than theoretical solutions to ill-defined challenges. Propago came out of a large commercial printing organization that consisted of twenty-five companies across the nation.

 

Marketing Services, Cross-Media, and YOUR Print Business

Published January 20, 2016

It’s time to stop talking about what we should become (marketing services providers) and actually take the steps that move us in that direction. Think through a go-to-market strategy for offering digital products, execute on that plan on your print business’ marketing, enable your sales team, and start diversifying your revenue streams for the digital age.

 

Premium Content Data Modeling: A Critical Juncture of Print MIS implementations

Published January 13, 2016

In Print MIS implementations, your business data entered into the Print MIS database structure creates the data model of your business. Your attention to detail at this critical juncture of Print MIS implementations can set you up for success.

 

VistaPrint and the Upload-and-Print Market

Published January 6, 2016

Cimpress (parent company of VistaPrint) is expanding into the core of the print market; “upload-and-print”. They are buying demand generators and no doubt investing in user experiences that will enable self-service online purchasing of print for the largest segment of the print industry (manufacturing of the customer’s design/file).

 

Premium Content Get Comfortable with Change

Published December 16, 2015

Last week I attended Singularity University’s Executive Program in Silicon Valley. The best way to describe what happened to me after a week of hearing some of the brightest people in tech talk about the future is that they dramatically changed my perspective. Come to find out, I had a very narrow lens through which I viewed the world; they replaced it with a wide angle lens that goes beyond our planet and looks far into the future.

 

Print Business Leadership – Give Yourself a Promotion

Published December 9, 2015

Rather than face the reality that all print businesses need to evolve, many print owners default to staying “busy” running the business the way it’s been run for years. Don’t be tempted to “numb yourself” by keeping busy, the market conditions are indisputable, the past performance of your print business is not indicative of future results. We are operating in a different reality with very compelling digital alternatives to print communication.

 

Premium Content B2C And Web-to-Print: What It Takes To Build A Successful Online Business

Published December 2, 2015

Most printers are business to business (B2B), they do business with other businesses that they have a working relationship with. Business-to-consumer (B2C) is the term used for online businesses that serve anyone who shows up on the website (not necessarily just consumers). As printers consider B2C, they need to understand what it takes to build a successful online business.

 

Premium Content Key Questions to Ask When Investing in Print Software Integration

Published November 18, 2015

Integration projects span a wide spectrum, from cheap and easy to complex and very expensive. Focus all your attention about print software integration from one place – your business objectives.

 

Premium Content Top 5 Mistakes in Choosing a Print MIS Solution

Published November 10, 2015

Your Print MIS or Print ERP is the most important print software in your business. The process for purchasing a Print MIS is dysfunctional; avoid these five common mistakes in your Print MIS sales process.

 

Premium Content Why Web-to-Print Matters More Now Than Ever

Published November 4, 2015

Web-to-print is a critical piece of your online presence. The ability for your customers to easily transact with you online is no longer a differentiator, it’s an expectation.

 

The Transition from Physical to Digital Communication

Published October 21, 2015

This pace of change is outrunning your print business’ technology decisions. A web-to-print platform decision you made two years ago could be completely out of date with the mobile-first world we live in today. Your aging ERP/Print MIS system has no way of understanding a product that exits your building via an Ethernet cable rather than a shipping truck.

 

A Strategic Approach to Print Workflow Automation

Published October 7, 2015

All printers should be thinking about “workflow automation” as a strategic initiative; produce more with less labor, less waste, in less time as a way to remain competitive. Time savings should be strategically invested in diversification, new skills acquisition, and cross-training.

 

Is Your Print Business Sales Focused or Production Focused?

Published September 2, 2015

A sales focus is external. A production focus is internal. A sales focused print business leader is constantly asking the question, “How does this activity/investment improve my customer’s experience or business?” A sales focused print leader escorts the external rate of change into the business at a rate that often makes their employees uncomfortable.

 

Top 5 Web-to-Print Sales Demonstration Tips

Published August 26, 2015

A web-to-print demo is your chance to demonstrate how your print software technology solves the relevant challenges of a specific customer. The key words are “relevant challenges” and “specific customer”. Do your homework so your demonstration addresses what the customer actually cares about.

 

The Top Print Software Question: When Will This Be Done?

Published August 19, 2015

Print software is eating your budget because software is becoming the tool of choice for industry leaders to create differentiation in the marketplace.

 

Transitioning Web-to-Print Solutions

Published August 12, 2015

Maintaining and paying for multiple web-to-print solutions is more expensive than you think. Transitioning off legacy systems has positive repercussions for your technical resources and your customers.

 

The Fear of Launching Print Software

Published July 22, 2015

Launching any new print software technology can feel risky. With the rate of change in both our businesses and software technology, we have to create a culture that is comfortable with launching early and iterating through issues. It is impossible to predict every possible scenario; it is liberating to accept that finding issues post-launch is part of the plan.

 

Premium Content Print Software as an Infrastructure Investment

Published July 15, 2015

Print software is an infrastructure investment in our increasing online and digital economy. Adopting a strategic infrastructure approach to investing in and implementing print software will be a key differentiator for print businesses moving forward.

 

Technical Staffing for Printers – Top 3 Characteristics

Published July 8, 2015

Staffing your technology is as important as staffing your presses. The top characteristics for good technical resources: understand the limits of your knowledge, resist making assumptions, and see opportunities rather than roadblocks.

 

Selling Print to an Informed and Predominately Online Buyer

Published July 1, 2015

As the online world continues to expand, your prospects and customers can become more educated buyers. Your response to this is to invest in your online presence so that first impressions count.

 

Printers 5 Top Challenges with Print Software

Published June 24, 2015

Software is mission critical to your business, like other infrastructure investments it takes time and effort to make the best decisions, plan to get the most ROI, and continue to build differentiation in the marketplace. Optimizing your print software investments comes with challenges which every printer faces in order to compete in an increasingly online, digital world.

 

Premium Content Online Print Marketing: Optimizing for Two Audiences

Published June 17, 2015

Inbound marketing is the strategy of choice for online marketing, content is the main ingredient to any successful inbound marketing strategy. Your content has to be optimized for two audiences; your target customers and the search engines.

 

Premium Content Top 5 Mistakes with Web-to-Print

Published June 3, 2015

Web-to-print is our term for moving customer engagement online. This represents a big change for most traditional business-to-business printers. This article describes the top five mistakes I see when working with printers through this transition from an offline business to an online / self-service customer interaction model.

 

The Custom Print Software Project

Published May 27, 2015

When you need a custom software solution, think about assembling a puzzle rather than building from scratch. The software landscape is full of integrate-able pieces that can give you ‘expected’ functionality so you can focus your custom development on what makes you ‘unique’.

 

Premium Content Focus, Priorities: The Future of Your Print Business

Published May 13, 2015

Looking backwards won’t help you navigate the uncharted waters of the future. The print businesses of the future will adapt to remain relevant in a digital, online, and data-driven world.

 

Make Your Customers the Stars of Your Marketing

Published May 6, 2015

Your marketing should talk more about your customers than about you. Compelling marketing content is about telling customer success stories to teach and attract more customers who find your content relevant to their current challenges.

 

Launching Additional Brands Online

Published April 24, 2015

What’s more costly, opening up a new successful retail location or a new successful online brand/store? The answer is “it depends”. Just because making a new e-commerce site is “cheap” doesn’t take into consideration all the costs of driving traffic and getting conversions.

 

Print Estimating & Quoting System Product Spotlight: arifiQ

Published April 15, 2015

Self-service is a growing preference among customers, pricing transparency is a feature of our online world, and speed is a growing differentiator in all aspects of our business. arifiQ has focused on a pivotal function of print – estimating/quoting; enabling printers to adapt to the new realities of our increasingly digital, online, and fast-paced business environment.

 

Print’s Representation at the MarTech Conference

Published April 14, 2015

MarTech – the Marketing Technology Conference took place March 31, 2015 in San Francisco. I attended to see how print is being represented within the modern marketing mix.

 

Online Marketing for Printers

Published April 10, 2015

You haven’t updated your website in over two years. You don’t remember if you have a LinkedIn page, you thought someone once tweeted something, and you recently had a customer complain about not being able to find you online.

 

Data-Driven: Thriving Print Business in 2020

Published April 6, 2015

A data-driven print business starts with a trusted system of record and then as selected meaningful metrics that influence your business decisions and your staff’s daily behavior.

 

Online Engagement: Thriving Print Business in 2020

Published March 30, 2015

The online channel is in the language of the customer and you have to compete to be found. These fundamental characteristics of this channel should drive your online presence at every level.

 

Thriving Print Business in 2020: Diversified, Online, and Data-Driven

Published March 23, 2015

Expand your thinking in many directions, beyond the four walls of your manufacturing operations, beyond your business into your customer’s business, and beyond print to the other communication methods that are complimentary to print.

 

The Role of Marketing in Your Print Business

Published March 16, 2015

Marketing is about delivering qualified leads to your sales team. The online world has converted marketing into a role that can be precisely measured. Start thinking of marketing as a role with a quote (# of qualified leads delivered), stop thinking of marketing as your brand colors or business card design.

 

As a Print Owner, Where is Your Focus?

Published March 9, 2015

If your focus is all internal, you are missing the broader context of how your products and services are utilized within your customer’s business. Loyal customers are created when you help them achieve their business results, that means engaging with customers in the broader context of their business.

 

Now What Are You Trying to Sell Me?

Published March 2, 2015

The first impressions of your business will be online. How does your online presence compare to you offline presence? Can prospects understand your business and what you can do for them from your website, your blog, and your social media channels? Your online presence sets up your sales team for success.

 

Premium Content Radical vs. Incremental Change with Web-to-Print and Print MIS

Published February 16, 2015

Do you approach change as an incremental, keep everyone comfortable manner? Or do you see how much the external conditions have changed while your company has stayed still? Is your print software able to support your current and future business needs?

 

Premium Content Own Your Print Software: Web-to-Print and Print MIS

Published February 9, 2015

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear, you DO NOT invest in print software to run your business as it is today. The whole point of software is to enable you to run your business differently - creating more efficiency.

 

Web-to-Print Product Spotlight: MarcomCentral

Published February 4, 2015

Twenty years ago when we described the function of marketing we would have started with terms like “creative” and “messaging.” Then we would have talked about distribution channels for getting these creative assets and messages out to the target audiences, primarily consisting of print, TV, and radio.

 

From the Yellow Pages to Google

Published February 4, 2015

When local businesses moved from “getting found” via the yellow pages to internet search so much changed.

 

Premium Content The Role of the Project Manager in Print Software

Published February 2, 2015

Every business owner has ideas, plans, and a vision for what they want their company to become. There is never a shortage of ideas; there is a severe lack of execution. Good project management can convert more of your ideas to reality through a disciplined execution process that annoys most people involved (especially impatient, attention deficit prone business owners).

 

Table Service at McDonald’s

Published January 28, 2015

The dining experience at fast food restaurants isn’t about the dining experience at all. It’s about the price, the availability, and the consistency no matter where you are in the world. The value proposition is clear, you serve yourself, you’re encouraged to clean up after yourself, and clearly by the comfort of the seats, you aren’t encouraged to linger.

 

Focus on Solutions in Print Software

Published January 26, 2015

Frustration happens, especially with print software projects like Print MIS and web-to-print. When frustration happens do you flex, adjust, look for a solution or do you stay in that frustrated state? Find evidence of the behavior you want more of and reward that behavior, in your people, in your vendors, in your partners – that will accomplish more than yelling, escalating, and threatening will ever do.

 

Industry Events, Peer Recommendations, and Print Software Decisions

Published January 19, 2015

EFI Connect, Dscoop X, AMPS Executive Leadership, NPOA, and PODI, the upcoming industry events where you have an excellent opportunity to connect and collaborate with peers. Do you want to do everything in your power to assure your next print software decision is a good one? Get the whole story from a peer who has already implemented the solution.

 

Premium Content The False Security of the Print Software RFP

Published January 12, 2015

The checklist RFP (Request For Proposal) fails to deliver the best purchasing decision. Your peers (the voice of current customers) are your most trusted source of information about how print software products perform in live environments and how print software companies support their customers after the sales process.

 

Print MIS Product Spotlight: PrintVis

Published January 7, 2015

The PrintVis MIS solution has a phenomenal product span, meaning the ability to “flex” in both directions, respond to growth and decline. In this Product Spotlight, Jen Matt reviews the PrintVis MIS solution.

 

We Have Always Done it This Way

Published January 5, 2015

Change is viewed as risky because we want to believe that past success guarantees our future success. Your customers are changing, technology is changing, and your competitors are changing, why would you think that maintaining the status quo is anything but the riskiest thing you can do? Standing still is the only way to assure your business’ decline

 

Increase Print Software User Adoption by Showing Less

Published December 15, 2014

Often the best way to drive a print software solution’s adoption rate is to eliminate the complexity. How ironic is this? We buy print software products based on extensive feature lists and then we drive adoption of the software by turning most of the features off so people will actually use the tool. Isn’t that an awesome irrational cycle we put ourselves into?

 

Print MIS Product Spotlight: PressWise

Published December 10, 2014

The online channel is vital to the future of your print business. The online channel includes all the ways you engage with your customers online. Every new channel you open up with a customer increases the overall loyalty of that customer, creates barriers to entry for your competitors, and has the potential to decrease the customer burden of doing business with you by offering self-service access to your business.

 

Embrace Print Software as Complimentary to Your People

Published December 1, 2014

Your people have the power to resist print software technology changes by focusing on the challenges instead of finding solutions. Your job as a leader is to portray technology as a complimentary tool for your people to work more effectively.

 

Premium Content Collaborative Commerce: The Necessary Evolution of Web-to-Print

Published November 24, 2014

Web-to-print technology and the customer facing resources working in print today need to evolve together so we can support online “collaborative commerce”: a procurement process that requires collaboration between the buyer and the seller.

 

Print MIS Product Spotlight: CoreBridge

Published November 19, 2014

CoreBridge is a cloud based, multi-tenant software solution whose business model is subscription based. Like pure technology startups, CoreBridge’s pricing model is easy to understand, available on their website, and allows you to start small and grow with CoreBridge through volume and/or functionality.

 

Teaching and Telling Stories Online

Published November 17, 2014

First impressions of your business matter, especially to new prospects. More and more first impressions are online. How does your online presence compare to your offline one?

 

Marketing Equals Lead Generation – Give them a Quota

Published November 13, 2014

Unless you are a large public company who needs to “protect their brand” and produce appropriate messaging for Wall Street (otherwise known as corporate marketing), the primary role of marketing in your organization should be lead generation.

 

Print Software: Dreaming vs. Executing

Published November 10, 2014

The raw potential of what technology can do for our business is unlimited, like a book a matches there is great possibility. Execution is about determining which match (project, goal, objective) you are going to put your energy into to ignite and then sustain your focus to create real change. Dreaming helps you think big, executing forces you to act within the constraints of your environment (resources, market, customers, and budget).

 

Define the Problem First

Published October 31, 2014

I am involved in a lot of conversations where companies and people are trying to solve a business challenge with software. Communication is so compressed nowadays, people’s time is limited, and we are almost always communicating across multiple time zones and frequently across cultures. This makes a common understanding difficult and opens up lots of opportunity for confusion.

 

Getting Found: Yellow Pages to Online Search

Published October 27, 2014

Online search has replaced the Yellow Pages as the primary way local businesses get found. This change requires a very different approach by businesses and a steep learning curve. The online world requires you to compete to be “found” for a lion share of the search traffic. The competition is constantly changing, therefore local businesses need to make a sustained investment.

 

What Does “Change” Mean to You?

Published October 24, 2014

Change evokes fear in some, excitement in others, and dread in many. What we can all agree on, change is picking up the pace.

 

Premium Content Every Print Job Doesn’t Deserve an Estimate

Published October 20, 2014

Efficiency requires the segmentation of your workflow into at least three different workflows: self-service, light-service, and full-service. Each workflow applies the appropriate amount of labor and technology to deliver on the promise to the customer in the most efficient manner possible.

 

Print Software Project or Emotional Roller Coaster?

Published September 29, 2014

Change is difficult for most people; everyone travels at their own pace through a process that starts with resistance and for most finishes in acceptance. You can improve your chances of success by communicating a lot in the beginning, providing emotional support in the middle and then becoming more of a coach once people are starting to accept there is really only one option – adapt or leave.

 

Print Software at Graph Expo

Published September 29, 2014

Web-to-Print and Print MIS vendors have always been represented at Graph Expo mostly hidden amongst the presses, wide format devices, and finishing gear. The trend we are seeing is less heavy equipment at the show, hence more room for software solutions to get the air time they deserve.

 

Web-to-Print Product Spotlight: PageDNA

Published September 26, 2014

This product spotlight focuses on three areas of the PageDNA offering: the store building wizard and project management approach to configuring new storefronts, their open approach to integrations, and the flexibility of their services model.

 

Digital Darwinism - Adapting to the new realities of our digital world

Published September 19, 2014

Adapting to the new realities of our digital world is a challenge for all industries. Digital Darwinism impacts all of us because the rate of change in technology and society is outpacing our organizations. Change is inevitable; the pace of change has to accelerate if you’re going to be on the survivor side of Digital Darwinism.

 

Print MIS Product Spotlight: EPMS

Published September 17, 2014

This product spotlight focuses on three areas of the EPMS Print MIS offering: the continuous expansion of Print MIS direct users, the support for an industry that is aggressively diversifying, and the ability to make EPMS work uniquely for your business through customization and integration.

 

3 Top Reasons Web-to-Print Projects Fail

Published September 8, 2014

The three top reasons web-to-print projects fail; the lack of business leadership, the sales team fails to sell the solution, and the customer fails to adopt the solution.

 

Print Software is a Tool (like a Hammer)

Published September 2, 2014

We confuse tools for solutions. Print software is a required tool that is part of an overall investment in making your business more productive, profitable, and competitive. The business results come from your vision, your plan, and the deployment of your labor who utilize the tool to deliver the business results you desire.

 

More Print Industry Shelfware: CRM Systems

Published August 28, 2014

Lots of Print MIS systems have added CRM modules to their offering. This makes sense, the Print MIS should be your system of record for all the interactions you have with current customers, adding a layer on top of your Print MIS would give you access to all the business the customer transacts with you.

 

3 Critical Factors for Web-to-Print Sales & Marketing Success

Published August 25, 2014

Would you put your Sales department in charge of your next IT project? Heck no! So why do you put your IT department in charge of your web-to-print projects?

 

Why Printers are Vulnerable to Brokers, Distributors, and Print Management Companies

Published August 18, 2014

Customers expect more from their vendor partners than simply delivering the product on time and at a fair price. As the print industry continues to contract, differentiation is required to remain competitive. Printers are at risk from print-manufacturing independent service providers because customers are looking to reduce the number of vendors and engage with vendor partners who make doing business with them very easy.

 

Order-Entry Data Collection

Published August 14, 2014

 

Self-Service vs. Full-Service

Published August 11, 2014

Customer preference is trending towards self-service, yet most printers continue to offer only one way to do business with them – a full-service order entry process that involves multiple back and forth communications between customer and printer via e-mail/FTP.

 

Choosing a Web-to-Print Partner

Published July 24, 2014

Print technology of all kinds; presses, production software, Print MIS software, and web-to-print technologies have one thing in common – they are constantly changing. This one factor probably causes the most pain in the purchasing process. As a buyer you want to feel confident with your purchasing decision, yet the very thing you’re investing in is in a constant state of change.

 

What Can You Do to Save Your Customers Money?

Published July 9, 2014

A printer e-mailed me recently and said, “the Vice President of Procurement at our biggest customer is open to a meeting but she wants to know what I can do to save her money.” Of course she does, she’s always wanted her vendors to engage with her in a way that solves her business challenges and makes her look good.

 

Building Digital Connections with Your Customers

Published July 1, 2014

Your sales team creates customer demand for your products and services, your production team fulfills that demand by manufacturing quality printed products on-time. Both your sales team and your production team need to be SOLD on the strategic, long-term importance of creating digital connections to your existing customers and using digital connections to win new customers.

 

Selling Solutions: A Path for Your Print Sales Team

Published June 24, 2014

Customers have challenges; the best way to increase your sales is to provide your products and services wrapped into solutions to your customer’s challenges. Solution selling is an easier topic to write about then it is to execute on. Too many people write about the idea without providing guidance on how to get from where you are today (selling print jobs) to selling print programs or solutions.

 

Experts at the Past vs. a Vision for the Future

Published June 17, 2014

Last week I was in Bali, Indonesia, speaking at Dscoop Asia. The event, the travel, and the reading I did along the way came together with a common theme which can best be summed up by a quote from the book I read on the way home.

 

Say Thank You: Customer-Vendor Relationships

Published June 5, 2014

When you are the customer, you’re always right – correct? Maybe not always but the relationship between customer and vendor is a tricky one.

 

Web-to-Print: Are Users Ordering or Shopping?

Published June 3, 2014

A web-to-print site is all about customer convenience, enabling your customers to order from you in a self-service fashion. One thing to understand about your customers is whether they are ordering or shopping.

 

Test Your Assumptions via Minimum Viable Product

Published May 29, 2014

We think we know our customers, we think we know our market; we think we can predict the future, we can’t and we shouldn’t invest lots of money without building in the ability to test our assumptions with data rather than opinions and theories.

 

Web-to-Print: A Mission Critical Sales and Marketing Project

Published May 13, 2014

Web-to-Print is a sales and marketing project that happens to involve technology, yet most printers delegate the leadership of web-to-print projects to their technical resources. We are collectively as an industry putting too much emphasis on the technology and not enough emphasis on the sales and marketing aspects.

 

Your Marriage to Your Print MIS May Be in Trouble!

Published May 6, 2014

There are several marriage mistakes that lead to divorce: cheating, dishonesty, addictions, and major changes in priorities. What does this have to do with your print management information system (Print MIS)? I am suggesting that your Print MIS is your most important business partner.

 

Print Software Vendors – Send Us Your News

Published May 5, 2014

Welcome to Print Software, WhatTheyThink’s new special interest section. Because software is the primary tool of the information age, we wanted to create a specific area dedicated to this topic. Virtually every decision you make about your business involves some software technology or the requirement for connectivity/integration.

 

How Sales Creates Web-to-Print Disasters

Published April 30, 2014

The sales process sets up the critical transition period from lead to customer. Customers remember what was said in the sales process and they often use this to guide their approach to implementation. Don’t inadvertently focus your soon to be customers in the wrong direction.

 

Don't Prioritize Activity Over Strategy

Published April 21, 2014

Activity does not equal results. You can be really busy, work really hard and fail miserable because you were busy doing the wrong thing.

 

Premium Content Need to Scale Your Sales? Invest in Marketing

Published December 17, 2013

The online world enables good online marketing to escort prospects through the sales process (know me, like me, trust me, and pay me). Online marketing is a path to scaling your sales reach.

 

Premium Content Use Technology to Change Behavior

Published December 3, 2013

Technology promises great potential to create leverage in our business. Leverage isn’t created in the purchase of technology; real leverage comes from how the use of the technology changes the behavior of the people who use it.

 

Premium Content How Would You Sell Against Yourself in Your Largest Client?

Published October 11, 2013

When I interview print sales representatives and ask them why their customers do business with them, they almost always say because we have a great relationship, our service is great, and our people are great. Relationship selling is a very common way to sell.

 

Premium Content A Passive Print Business Doesn’t Work Anymore (Be Assertive)

Published September 24, 2013

The default for decades has been, when you want to communicate something (a marketing message, information, education, compliance message, etc.) you contacted your printer and discussed the timeframe, manufacturing specifications, and quantities. Printers could be passive

 

Let’s Proactively Evolve Print from Outbound to Inbound Marketing

Published August 27, 2013

Outbound marketing is promotion-based; spread the message about my company, my products, and my services to as many people as I can interrupt in the hope that some will find the message relevant. Print examples of this are blasting out huge direct mail campaigns to strangers, newspaper advertisements, and billboards.

 

The Software You Buy vs. the Software You Use

Published August 20, 2013

A 2002 Standish Group study of software projects found that 45% of features were never used and only 20% features were used often or always. We base our software investment decisions on the number of features a product has and then we fail to utilize 80% of those features. Does that make sense to anyone?

 

Make Great Software Decisions

Published July 30, 2013

We collectively make a lot of poor software decisions, according to my very bias and unscientific research we make way more mistakes in this area than we do with other business decisions. What is it about technology that causes a collective brain freeze when it comes to making good decisions?

 

Premium Content Printer’s Marketing Efforts: The Untold Story

Published July 23, 2013

For many years I cringed every time I heard someone in the print industry say, “printers need to become marketing service providers.” My initial reaction was always, are you kidding me?

 

The Pace of Change Around You

Published July 2, 2013

I was involved in an RFP-like process recently, the organization made the following statement which I haven’t stopped thinking about since it dropped into my consciousness.

 

Why Most Sales Pitches/Presentations Suck

Published June 18, 2013

The number one best answer to any question posed by a prospect during the sales process is a clarifying question (hopefully several of them). The two best clarifying questions are, “what business challenge are you trying to solve?” and “how would you define wild success?”

 

A Printer’s Online Infrastructure Investment

Published June 4, 2013

Doing business online requires an infrastructure investment. Your business needs to be able to control content, commerce, and customer engagement online from your home base online – your domain.

 

Premium Content A Real Commitment to Change

Published May 21, 2013

A commitment to real change requires real risk because you have to be all-in for it to work. Too many technology projects fail because nobody was committed to bring forth the change necessary for success.

 

Premium Content Technology’s ROI Requires People

Published May 7, 2013

Technology alone does not create value, differentiation, or competitive advantage. It has to be combined with strategy and execution (by your people) – that’s where real differentiation happens.

 

Premium Content Business-to-Business Commerce aka Web-to-Print

Published April 9, 2013

Business-to-business commerce may not be getting the headlines in the print industry, yet across all industries in the US it’s nearly twice the size of the business-to-consumer market. It’s vital that printers understand the B2B opportunity and not confuse it with jumping into a price war with retailers online.

 

Premium Content What Job Does Web-to-Print Do for Your Customers?

Published March 12, 2013

Web-to-print is a product that should do a “job” for you and/or your customers. When you look at technology purchases through the lens of “jobs” you focus on what’s really important.

 

Premium Content Your #1 Strategic Imperative: Build a Learning Organization

Published March 4, 2013

The greatest investment you can make in your business is to assure you living the example of a lifelong learner for your organization and then surround yourself with other lifelong learners.

 

Premium Content Buying Print Software: A How To Guide

Published February 12, 2013

Too many mistakes (big ones) are being made in our industry around software purchases at a time when nobody can afford expensive mistakes. Virtually all of these mistakes are preventable.

 

Premium Content Web Strategy vs. Web Technology

Published January 21, 2013

There is no shortage of talk about web-to-print technologies; there is too little talk about printer’s online strategies. Printers can talk for hours about how this or that web technology has failed them or this or that technology is what made all the difference.

 

Premium Content When Things Go (Sometimes Horribly) Wrong

Published December 7, 2012

We have a choice how we react to mistakes/failures. This is an area where we can learn from the technology startup world. Mistakes are learning events; sometimes very expensive but invaluable learning opportunities which should be analyzed to get everything you can out of them. Learning from mistakes requires you to remove the moral mindset to your reaction and replace it with an economic mindset.

 

Premium Content Print's Evolving Role in the Digital Economy

Published November 16, 2012

The print industry is facing a tectonic level change in the communication business. You have to chart a new course that takes these changes into consideration in order to remain competitive. There are many options; the only one that isn't viable is the status quo.

 

Premium Content Measuring Activity Instead of Results

Published October 19, 2012

Being busy does not equate to delivering results. We are so caught up in the culture of busy we forget to reflect on why we're doing what we do and how it contributes to the results we seek.

 

Premium Content Web-to-Print Acquisition Analysis: EFI Buys OPS

Published October 5, 2012

The web-to-print market is fragmented and hard to determine clear leadership or market share. EFI's acquisition of OPS consolidates the market (slightly). EFI's market share will grow, their product offering will be more comprehensive, and OPS will benefit from EFI's well developed channel partnerships.

 

Premium Content Expand Our Thinking About Web-to-Print

Published September 14, 2012

Web-to-print has to become the set of tools that enable printers to be competitive on the web. This is a whole lot more than a B2B business card site. It requires us to rethink the way we shop for solutions and partners.

 

Innovation: Easy to Talk About, Hard to Do

Published August 17, 2012

Who do we respect most in business? The individuals or companies who talk the best game or the individuals or companies who execute?

 

Hierarchy of Needs: Print Customers

Published July 30, 2012

Much like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for humans, printers need to elevate their offerings above quality, service, and price in order to stay competitive.

 

Embrace Software (Just Like You Did with Manufacturing)

Published June 19, 2012

Software is the tool to remain relevant and integrated with the new communication methods. The print industry’s future will depend on embracing software like we did manufacturing – creating new reasons to print and optimizing and integrating existing applications.

 

ROMI: Return on Marketing Investment

Published March 23, 2012

Why has marketing been given such a long leash for so long or, in most cases, the only leash is the budget? Spend as you wish, hope it has a positive impact, and stop when the budget is gone. Marketers are good at pointing out their impact but when pressed, they typically can’t identify which part of their spend had the desired impact.

 

Technology Is Not the Answer

Published February 17, 2012

Technology on its own cannot solve your business challenges. It can play a part, it can enable your strategy, it can free up your labor but the real benefits of technology come from the people and the processes around it.

 

If You Want a Slice, Bring Your Own Pie

Published December 6, 2011

If you’re walking around trying to push your products and services on potential customers, you’re asking them to give you a slice of their pie (their business). This is a hard sale because you’re dipping into a limited resource.

 

Legacy Decisions and Facing Uncertainty

Published June 7, 2011

Every established business works with previous decisions, no matter their subject (technology, business strategies, or personnel), they all share a common challenge to change. You are faced with moving from a certain state (your legacy decision) to an uncertain state (the better results you seek).

 

Premium Content Democratization of Professional Printed SMB Marketing Materials

Published May 17, 2011

Innovation can increase the size of existing markets by expanding the addressable market size. While many printers are looking to expand outside of print, there is still room to expand the print market into previously unaddressable segments by leveraging technology.

 

Premium Content Sales: Resisting the “Yes” Temptation

Published April 8, 2011

Sales isn’t just about being able to meet the stated needs of the prospect. Sales is a dance that starts with a gut feeling. First gain trust and show respect. Only then will your prospect be tuned into your intellectual pitch.

 

Target Your Sales Team or Accept Chaos

Published March 17, 2011

Sales is the start of every business process, this is where expectations are set. The temptation to say “yes” to everything has repercussions downstream especially with technology sales.

 

Premium Content Integrated Print Workflows: Overlapping Technologies

Published February 25, 2011

The business process of print spans the needs of several technology solutions. Whenever multiple technologies exist, there is potential overlap and the need for integration. Get clear on what each technology’s core purpose is and then determine your source of master data throughout your workflow.

 

Premium Content We’ve Moved: From Offline Print Business to PRIMARILY Online Print Business

Published January 21, 2011

Where does your business transition start? Changing WHAT you do or HOW you do it? The first step to evolving your business in the digital economy is to transition your existing business from an offline business to a primarily online business (HOW you do your business is leveraging the digital infrastructure).

 

Technology's Role in Print Partnerships: Mimeo-FSI Alliance

Published October 4, 2010

These days software companies are building products that they know will get used in larger “mashup” solutions. The trend in software has moved towards simpler, interchangeable apps with fewer features but better functionality. The recent Mimeo-FSI partnership highlights a great example of an existing company getting dragged into the present to make the adjustments necessary to be competitive.

 

Google, HP, & FedEx Office – Cloud Printing Pioneers

Published September 7, 2010

We hear a lot about cloud computing being the next big thing. WhatTheyThink’s Jennifer Matt explores how this new platform is impacting printing, and how three major players are planning to use it to change how you get your printing done.

 

Printer’s Survival Kit: Understand & Participate in the Digital Economy

Published August 10, 2010

The modern marketing budget has many more choices beyond print, and some of these choices are essentially free to implement. What are the roots of this massive change and how does it relate to the print industry?

 

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