Competition — It's Everywhere

It’s no longer news in the print industry that competition is much greater than ever before.  Not only are you fighting the price war with the guy across the street, but you’re also fighting with the guy located out-of-town/across the ocean AND alternative media.  In my recent meanderings, I’ve run across two more.

The first is the “green” blogger who condemns all print.  This individual lambastes print as evil, but truly doesn’t do their homework.  This type of editorializing concerns me because more and more individuals deal in sound bites (bytes?) and thus don’t think beyond what they just read or heard.  Case in point is this site where the author shares this tidbit, “Nearly all the industries have their shares in polluting the environment but out of all the industries, the printing industry is the major cause to pollute the environment.”

Another recent discovery is the USPS’ “Small To Medium Enterprise Solution” project which will launch next spring on a trial basis in Austin.  Kudos to the USPS for trying to find ways to make direct mail easier to use, but this model is not one that is going to excite the vast majority of small to medium printers in the U.S. who are already fighting UPS, FedEx, and Staples for market share.

I’ll be the first to admit that there is no simple solution to this complete change in our competitive landscape – and there is not putting the genie back in the bottle.  Ownership and management must realize that selling is no longer just a process of discovering who is buying and providing them with a price.  It has become much more complex.  The selling cycle is going to become longer and the tools which we use to “sell” print are also much more complicated.  The old sales models are not going to work, and there are plenty of other industries out there with good models to copy.

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