The Slippery Slope of the One Stop Shoppe
The Slippery Slope of the One Stop Shoppe
by Kevin Keane
An IAPHC member called in May 2011 with a request. He is the second generation owner of a successful, conventional printing business. He said: "Business is OK, but it isn't growing. I know I have to change my business model, but I need help."
This is a worldwide lament.
The above, lengthy and thought provoking article from Britain's venerable Printweek should be printed out by anyone seeking to change their business model and read, with a highlighter in hand, several times.
This stuff isn't easy. Yet wracking change is an undeniable industry trend.
Two utterly essential roadmaps
If you agree that your business model must change, then two items need to be on your nitestand or on your desk. You must read Dr. Joe Webb's "Disrupting the Future: Uncommon Wisdom for Navigating Print’s Challenging Marketplace" manifesto, written with Richard Romano, and then tackle John Foley's new book: "Business Transformation A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry."
Each should become a well thumbed, heavily marked up road-map for your business model changeover.
Ma and Pa and the media mixer
It remains a truth that most of the global printing industry is comprised of small shops and plants. And most of the clients of these traditional printing businesses are likewise, small businesses themselves.
The clients too, are grappling with the rapidly exploding plethora of ways to communicate with their customers, and as the excellent Printweek article linked above states -- they would prefer to have just one vendor if at all possible.
Logic or a leap of faith?
On 31 May 2011 we posted a series of 4 You Tube videos on our IAPHC Facebook Group page (you are really missing out if you aren't a member of that Group page !) that underscore the amazing developments allowing any business to communicate with its customers in new and vividly exciting ways.
The syllogism might go like this:
Printers know that print is only one of many communications media choices; and
Customers know that they must use a mix of communications media to effectively target their clients,
ERGO: Printers must provide a menu of communications media choice to customers.
A couple of months ago we posted an article of survey results on the IAPHC Facebook Group page which found that 70% of the small businesses surveyed wanted to use more video in their marketing this year. Is that an opportunity? Is that a skill-set well outside a printers comfort zone? Is it nonetheless an essential offering?
Pasted below are the micro-bloggery comments and the 4 You Tube videos. Note that 3 of the videos went up on You Tube in May of 2011 and one in February. Change is accelerating.
"We are members of a Linked In Group dedicated to Augmented Reality. Over the Memorial Day holiday here in the USA, we thought we might enter the phrase: "interactive print ads" into You Tube's search window and see what we might find. We hadn't heard of kooaba, A Zurich based SaaS (software as a Service) start-up with a very intriguing offering -- posted 19 May 2011."
"Interactive print ads can take many forms short of QR Code enabled or Augmented Reality (AR) empowered. Curtis 1000 is owned, if memory serves, by Glen Taylor's Taylor Corporation - Carlson Craft and 90 or so other printing firms. UVIAUS posted a raft of these quick little videos on You Tube on 25 May 2011, showing off its interactive wares."
"Still another interactive application for print from kooaba. We have long held to the position that whilst print is no longer the paramount form of media communication, it is still a partner; a powerful partner in the media mixology. Well worth a trip to the kooaba website if you are similarly intrigued. Posted 17 May 2011."
"Meanwhile, back at the AR ranch -- this may be the coolest example of Augmented Reality, we have seen thus far, and clearly this stuff will just keep getting better. And note that the video below and the 3 videos above, are all of the highest production quality, Print is still a Partner, Pilgrims! Posted 23 February 2011."
No man is an island as Thomas Merton reminded us. It would be enormously difficult to go thru this transformation alone.
We welcome you to join with your peers and become a member of our Network - IAPHC, The Graphic Professionals Resource Network. A simple member enrollment form is available right HERE.
We also urge you to enter your most engaging print projects in the International Gallery. And then, should you win, learn how to market that award winning success as an incubator of the ways your business can be trans-formative for your clients. The 2011 Call for Entries is available in an easy to use MS Word format right HERE.
Change it Up, on the path to the One Stop Shoppe
Finally, we urge you to start now. Start to change. Add just one new offering or product or service to begin the process. Maybe watching those four videos above scare the Katzenjammers off of you. You might be thinking -- 'Printweek's article seems to suggest that a design studio or a premedia lab would be appropriate, but Jimminey Cricket, I know nothing about AR or video, and gosh knows I don't want to offer picture framing!'
OK, fair enough, but you can add ruffles and flourishes to your existing offerings. Maybe you dip a toe into wide format, or else partner with someone who can help provide that product. Maybe you embrace photobook services for your clients as something new and yet not so far removed from your basic competency that you feel lost. Maybe you look to add extra oomph to your current printed offering by asking us to connect you with Mark Geeves at Color-Logic so you can offer metallic effects to your clients.
Maybe you appreciate that QR codes are of interest to many of your clients, but simply printing a QR code without back end tracking software to help interpret the response metrics is a waste of ink. And maybe you see that developing some QR code competency is not only a new service for you to offer, it exposes you to the exploding world of mobile marketing as well as requiring a greater IT facility on your part or that of your staff. Having to learn a whole new idiom so you can be an effective change agent is not a bad thing.
We have all kinds of IAPHC members who can help you explore QR codes - from Patrick Whelan of Great Reach Communications Inc. (Pat has a superb QR code primer) to David Platz, new technology and business development guru at A&M Label in Wixom Michigan to Jason Pinto and John Foley at interinkONE and their iFlyMobi application. They are part of your IAPHC network. So WORK your network and make the work required to change seem not like work but instead a whole exciting new opportunity to grow and prosper. Just ask us to connect you with your fellow members, it will be a pleasure.