Competition — It's Everywhere

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.”

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