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Ricoh Invests in PTI Marketing Technologies; Commentary by Cary Sherburne

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Press release from the issuing company

Ricoh Company, Ltd. (Ricoh) today announced that it has made a significant investment in PTI Marketing Technologies, a leading provider of web-to-print and marketing personalization solutions for both enterprise users and print service providers.  This investment will be used to further enhance the development of new marketing collateral management tools to help enterprises and commercial printers on their continued path towards efficiency and growth.  It is another strategic move by Ricoh to provide complete, end-to-end production print solutions for customers, ensuring that they are equipped with all of the necessary resources to become marketing service providers, including marketing automation and brand management.  Ricoh enables companies of all sizes around the world to help expand their businesses with tools such as data intelligence, document management software, industry-leading digital printers, and other solutions – all aimed to deliver a competitive advantage for customers.

Together, Ricoh and PTI will bring new technologies, software and services to market to enable companies to drive relevant, multichannel marketing campaigns at the global, regional and local levels. Ricoh has long been committed to helping companies leverage leading marketing and business development tools through such programs as Business Booster and the Ricoh Business Driver Programme. These value-added initiatives are aimed to help companies quickly pursue a more productive and profitable business strategy. With this investment in PTI, Ricoh customers can now extend that capability beyond the enterprise, making it easier to expand their portfolios from just one print channel, such as direct mail, to a full spectrum of multichannel communications, driving value and growth for their businesses and their clients.

“Today’s commercial printers are seeking solutions beyond the traditional print services to help them stay a step ahead of the competition.  This is the goal of our ‘Print and Beyond’ initiative – to enable customers to drive new revenues, increase effectiveness, and seek efficiencies to lower costs, no matter what direction they want to take their business or department. From data analytics to brand management to our new Clickable Paper tool, there are a wealth of offerings that can bring value-added benefits to any portfolio – beyond traditional hardware,” said Yasuhiko Hosoe, associate director and deputy general manager, Ricoh Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Company, Ltd. “Our investment in PTI, a leading innovator in the marketing technology space, further demonstrates our dedication to enabling our customers to go beyond today’s thinking and beyond print -- and deliver upon an expanded view of the future.”

“We are very excited with the investment from Ricoh. After many years of software development, it is especially gratifying to know that an industry leader such as Ricoh has recognized the importance of the marketing operations technology space to such a degree that they are making a strategic investment in our company,” said Coleman Kane, president and CEO, PTI Marketing Technologies.  “Ricoh’s investment, combined with their expertise and worldwide footprint, will allow PTI to expand rapidly and deploy our MarcomCentral and FusionPro software globally. The combination of Ricoh’s best-of-breed solutions with PTI software will help both organizations stand apart from the competition,” continues Kane. “Together we will develop and distribute a global offering that will help companies succeed strategically, and at the same time, demonstrate a return on their marketing investment.”

In 2011, the companies announced that Ricoh will offer a cloud-based software solution that supports a multitude of output delivery formats for print and other media, including PDF, AFP and HTML email based on PTI’s SaaS software, MarcomCentral.  This solution enables enterprises to provide distributed agents, salespeople and others with access to brand-driven collateral.

For more information about Ricoh’s Print and Beyond initiative, please visit: http://www.ricoh-europe.com/about-ricoh/news/2012/Ricoh_Focuses_on_Print_and_Beyond_at_drupa2012.aspx

Commentary by Cary Sherburne

Today’s announcement by Ricoh relative to its investment in PTI Marketing Technologies (formerly Printable) is an interesting one.  As each of the hardware suppliers to the industry work to differentiate themselves, they see a need to go beyond the speeds and feeds of the printing equipment itself, and this investment is a good example of how Ricoh is doing just that, living up to its corporate “motto” of Print and Beyond.

I spoke with Theresa Lang, Vice President Solutions & Services at Ricoh, and Coleman Kane, CEO of PTI, to better understand the drivers for this investment and the expected outcome.

First, though the parties were unwilling to divulge the actual investment made, Ricoh now owns roughly 30% of PTI. According to Lang, the parties have worked closely together for the past two years, and the investment was a natural progression, saying, “Our sales teams are already selling PTI solutions, and additionally, since PTI started within the commercial print space and is well accepted in that space, we believed it would be helpful for us in further streamlining workflow to drive work directly to the printers.”

Kane added, “The relationship with Ricoh is one of the better relationships we have had with suppliers.  We had already been doing a fair amount of cross-selling, and even some engineering tweaks to meet specific needs of Ricoh customers. Now it will be a much more formal relationship resulting in tighter integration with Ricoh’s devices.  Theresa’s team has been working on TotalFlow solutions  which will help speed jobs from MarcomCentral through that middleware right to the print engines.”

Ricoh will continue to sell PTI’s MarcomCentral and Fusion Pro VDP Suite as they have in the past, although they may tag them with a TotalFlow moniker, according to Lang (i.e., TotalFlow MarcomCentral). Both parties expect additional solutions to roll out of this partnership.  Kane commented, “Some of the former InfoPrint solutions will help us bring better analytics into MarcomCentral, such as what is being ordered, A/B testing results, which headlines are pulling better on templates than others, that kind of thing.”

When asked whether this was an exclusive relationship, Kane replied, “Most of our sales have been through our direct efforts rather than through channels.  We do have some channels selling our Fusion Pro variable data solution, and we don’t really see that changing in the near term.” Both PTI and Ricoh have strong customer bases in both commercial print and the enterprise, and both see synergies there in their joint sales efforts.

PTI products are available through Ricoh in North America, and Europe is already preparing its infrastructure for a late 2012 launch, with the rest of the world to following in 2013 and beyond.  Lang said, “Europe feels confident in the fact we made this investment; it is very strategic and they are excited to have something that capitalizes on a solid web-to-print partnership that is clearly a strategic direction for us as we continue to work toward Print and Beyond.”

Lang added, “Cary, I know that taking a defensive posture on print is one of your pet peeves, and with this announcement, we are taking a step away from that, saying how do we move beyond print, helping commercial printers and in-plants move more toward the marketing services model that has vaulted many firms into success even in tough economic times.  We want to add more value to the marketing services provider model that is not just print-related.”

Kane concluded, “With the wind of Ricoh behind our back, PTI will now be able to move more aggressively into international markets. This will help us grow, and will help to unify solutions for Ricoh’s customers, making workflow integration a less daunting task.”



By Chuck Gehman on Aug 22, 2012

This is great news! Congratulations to Coleman and the PTI team, and to Ricoh for being forward-looking and making the investment. It's going to be exciting to see PTI expand their footprint, its a wonderful set of solutions for many of the industry's challenges. (Great coverage and commentary Cary, thank you!)


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