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Ricoh Production Print Solutions Expanding Solutions Portfolio; Commentary from Cary Sherburne

Press release from the issuing company

Ricoh*, a leading provider of digital output solutions, announced today that it is continuing to expand its enterprise marketing offerings with new Marketing Asset Management (MAM) and Web-to-Print solutions that enable organizations to deliver customized communications via multiple channels. Ricoh, with the help of strategic partners such as PTI [Printable Technologies, Inc.], will be bringing together new technologies, software and services to allow companies to drive relevant, multichannel marketing campaigns at the global, regional and local levels. A recent study from Gleanster, a market research and advisory services firm, revealed that highly relevant and targeted communications are significant revenue drivers in distributed marketing environments. This key finding further mandates the need for corporate marketing digital automation that enable local marketers the ability to adjust messages according to the unique market conditions while maintaining brand integrity. These findings support Ricoh’s commitment to developing multichannel marketing tools that help organizations address this need.

Ricoh has long been committed to enabling companies to leverage leading marketing tools, such as Precision Marketing and data analytics, to deliver relevant and customized content that is more engaging and drives a higher Return on Marketing Investments (ROMI). Continuing to lead innovation in the industry, Ricoh is now extending that capability beyond the enterprise, making it easier to migrate commodity-driven print service providers from just one channel of print – such as direct mail – to a full spectrum of multichannel communications, driving value and growth for their businesses. Building on its strength in the production print industry, Ricoh’s new Web-to-Print solutions can help companies optimize their production processes and realize the maximum benefit of variable data printing (VDP).

“In this economy, marketers are driving demand generation for their companies, making it imperative that their local marketing and sales teams are enabled to quickly respond to customers, leads and the community to drive measurable top line results.  In many cases, commercial printers are the print fulfillment side for these campaigns. Our new solution will provide commercial printers the ability to deliver new services for their corporate marketing customers, driving new routes to revenue,” said Lee Gallagher, director of Precision Marketing & Enablement for Ricoh Production Print Solutions (RPPS).  “For example, with these offerings a company could print a variable direct mail piece, conduct an email campaign, integrate online and offline using QR code and drive key messages through new channels such as mobile applications and iPads. This is yet another value-added service commercial printers can now tout.”

With PTI’s new SaaS software, MarcomCentral, 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. This MAM solution is designed to enable enterprises to provide distributed agents, salespeople and others with access to brand-controlled collateral. The company also plans to enhance the offering with Precision Marketing and other value-added applications, services, training and template design capabilities as the offering continues to grow.

A new Gleansight report, “How Top Performers Drive Relevance and Revenue in Distributed Marketing Environments,” found that top marketing performers are investing in initiatives that mitigate three key challenges: relevance, communication and campaign cycle time. The report also found that relevancy was directly related to revenue, regardless of the channel, but that print was a specific weakness for many marketers looking to maintain relevancy. Ricoh’s portfolio enhancements help address this concern by enabling customers to leverage multiple channels of communication, including print, to optimize their results.

Gleanster and Ricoh also found that top performers in the study were three times more likely to leverage emerging technologies like Marketing Asset Management (MAM) solutions. These offerings help companies automate, distribute, track and manage marketing assets to make it easier on organizations that are going “glocal” – moving a corporate asset down to the local level to distribute branded collateral. Locking down a brand can be crucial for some companies, but they must also give their distributed network the ability to reuse marketing assets in an effective and profitable localized way.

For a copy of the full Gleanster report, please visit: http://bit.ly/t9bWVF.

Commentary from Cary Sherburne

I found this announcement quite interesting.  This Ricoh group, formerly InfoPrint Solutions, with an IBM heritage before that, has significant internal development resources yet chose to partner for this enhancement of their core Precision Marketing Strategy.  Chris Reid, Vice President, Business Development, told me that historically they have looked for strategic partnerships where they do not have core software capability in-house, such as composition or transforms, and have many strategic partners, including HP Exstream, GMC and Compart in those areas. One attraction for the PTI partnership is its long-term relationship with Ricoh, which makes contracts and other aspects of the partnership easier to get done. He said, “We also liked the fact that they are cloud-based, a big part of our strategy and direction. It enables customers to go to a new IT model that allows them to more easily throttle costs and capacity up and down based on changing needs.  We were also looking for a partner with a strong industry presence, a large customer base, and a solid platform we can work with them to continue to enhance.”
Allison Boxall, Manager, Marketing Service Provider Solutions, added, “PTI is one of the few web-to-print solutions that emits AFP as a data stream, and it is a good complement to our portfolio.  We also see it as a way to aggregate and increase variable color within our install base as well as taking us into some new upstream applications.” Boxall points out that as a greater foothold is gained within the enterprise and with agencies, it is also important to support the PDF workflow that these users are already comfortable with and that PTI’s MarComm Central also supports.”
“This is an advantage for our large user base,” Reid commented, “who are AFP-centric. If they can move into some of these new applications with tools and an architecture they already understand, it is an advantage.  We see the AFP aspect as a big differentiator but a small part of the overall strategy; it is a ‘great-to-have.’”
Boxall concluded by saying, “This extends the reach of Precision Marketing. Rather than just being able to solve business pain and redesign transaction documents to include marketing messages, or solving customer pain points with call centers, we are taking this same precision marketing strategy and bringing it to a sales enablement tool that allows, for example, an insurance agent to have access to brand-approved marketing materials and shorter times to market, extending the reach to non-transactional communications pieces.”
The press release refers to a Gleanster study that is worth reading.  Ricoh partnered with Gleanster to conduct this study. Boxall says, “We asked Gleanster, who has really focused on digital communications, to take another look that included some of the more print-oriented applications in the market.  We wanted to see some research about where the convergence of print and digital is and how the top performers are embracing these tools, what are the challenges they are seeing and where can we add value to solve some of the pain in the enterprise. This study gave us that insight.”


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