From all reports, 2014 has been a good year for many in our industry. Many companies are busy and many buyers are realizing print has value and a solid ROI.
Yet, as many of our company owners and CEO’s have discovered, good is not great. The market has shrunk dramatically from 2008 and other competing media (specifically digital ones) have changed the landscape of competition. So, how does one continue to thrive and survive in 2015?
Regardless of the challenges to do so, sales growth is crucial to success. Many companies continue to expand their offerings (mailing, fulfillment, wide format, specialty products, and even marketing services), but the smart ones don’t just add capabilities (build it and they will come), they also spend time in training their sales force on selling those new services – and when necessary, adding (or replacing) players to ensure that the investment has an ROI.
Firms have to look at what the print management firms are doing and why they’re successful. It’s more than just ink on paper. It’s the willingness to provide unique service levels and negotiated pricing. Its finding partners who fill in the gaps (wide format; mailing; web portals) to ensure that today’s print buyer sees our company as sophisticated as the “big” boys.
We also need to find ways to become more efficient in our operations and have financial tools which can help us understand the cost dynamics of our operation. We can no longer afford “cost” systems which are historical in nature and don’t reflect the dynamic variables which comprise printed products, and our pricing teams need to understand the nuances of contribution and plant utilization.
We can no longer just focus on us (print providers). We need to monitor what other competing medias are doing and the affect they will have on print. Doors will open and doors will close – we just need to be sure we’re on the right side.