Since last Friday I’ve been out of town/office for six of the past seven days. Much of that time was spent in meetings – but a lot of time in airports. The time spent was unusual due to flight cancellations/delays due to dramatic weather in the Midwest and which also affected my Southwest flight to Amarillo on Thursday.
As I shared with a young lady (OK, she was my mom’s age) at the airport – flying is not fun – but it is part of the job and complaining about it doesn’t make it go away. Am I complaining? No, I am “venting,” which according to my counselor spouse, is good for me, and probably healthier than having a double of Maker’s Mark. Although that does sound pretty good.
The one constant in the past decade for the print industry has been the ever-expanding world of competitors. It’s no longer the guy across the street who just added a piece of equipment. It’s the corporate communications department that just added a digital press. It’s the big box office supply company that is now offering print management. It’s the fulfillment house that’s added print capabilities. And the USPS is now in the fray as well.
Their Every Door Deliver program might be a way to create more volume (more print?), but it does have a dark side as Cam Swegman recently observed. The program threatens the mail house. And if you’re a printer, don’t ignore this new kid on the block. There is a test campaign going on in several cities (Austin was one of them) in which the USPS acts as the “print provider,” or at least as a broker.
With all these competitors, one would think that it’s the end of the world as we knew it. Yes, it is if we continue to operate as “normal.” No, if we look as this as an opportunity to sell our differentiation.
What is it that your firm can do better than FedEx Office? The USPS? Staples? InnerWorkings?
There are more than likely a multitude of things your firm can do much better and effectively. One of the constant complaints I hear from print buyers is that when dealing with the “big boxes” is that they lack knowledge of print — and that should be one of the first differentiators which needs to be pitched to clients. Just because you can buy your stamps or office supplies at the “big box,” it doesn’t mean they understand how to solve the customer’s communication/print problem — and that is a BIG difference between the “newbies” and the “old timers.”
I just finished reading an article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal on the hacking which occurred at Sony, which comes on the heels of our website getting hacked several weeks ago. We’re still in the process of re-building.
Here’s a key excerpt from the WSJ interview of Howard Stringer, Sony’s CEO, “He said the security breach at PSN, Sony Online Entertainment, an online game service for personal computer users, and its Qriocity streaming video and music network could lead the way to bigger problems well beyond Sony, or the gaming industry. He warned the attacks may one day target the global financial system, the power grid, or air traffic control systems.
“It’s the beginning, unfortunately, or the shape of things to come,” said Mr. Stringer. “It’s not a brave new world; it’s a bad new world,” he said.
Given all they hype of cloud computing and our ability to more readily communicate any time, any place, I don’t know whether I should cry or be happy.