More Machines Or More Customers – that is the question
The familiar path looks like this ! Do I continue with a business model that is wowed by the latest and the greatest gadget, (yes we all saw them at Drupa) and worry about how to acquire the customers to fund it later.
You’d think that common sense would prevail, but that goes out the window when the lights start flashing, the engine starts whirring and the new device starts spitting out beautiful examples of the latest print tests. It’s a delicious addiction. Printers love expensive toys, so off goes the head and on goes the pumpkin and out comes the check book.
The new and unfamiliar path and misunderstood; is the science of customer acquisition in the digital age. A shinny new press is not going to do this for you, no matter how sexy !
The real question is, to continue investing in the latest print press technology or embrace web innovation and transform from a manufacturing centric model, into a digital marketing enterprise.
Spare a thought for the poor print rep for a moment. They are wound up and launched into the market, with a huge sales budget and high expectations for success and these days can’t even reach new business prospects by the phone. In the meantime the potential customer has got onto the web cross checked prices and products and already has an order sitting in a shopping cart.
Print services are easy to acquire they are a fingertip away. The printers new business target has absolutely no interest in what presses, plant or the staff you may have, rather what price you are selling products for and how quick they can get them. Of course quality and service still plays it’s part hgh effects in establishing clients but print is now very much a commodity. Most printers offer the same finishes and paper stocks and delivery times – so the real dilemma is why they should go with YOU, when your services are on parity with hundreds of other suppliers.
The answer of course is getting found on the web, before your competitors. We are now into the road less travelled. The bottom line is if a printer doesn’t evolve into an online marketing services organisation – it’s good night Irene !
Simply building a website is only a small part of the equation. There is misnomer that “if I build it they will come.” Well I hate to rain on your parade but there is far more to driving traffic than building a website. Google wouldn’t be the giant it now is, if this was the case. They were smart enough to devise a quality score methodology based on a algorithm which looks for among other things (some of which are more secret than the Colonel Sanders herbs and spices) relevancy, ease of navigation and inbound links from high trafficking websites.
The long and the short of it is that is has created an order among the gazillion websites on the planet. Apart from making pots of money Google is responsible for the way in which we connect with each other.
But there is more, web marketing is a complex mix of strategy, investment and know how. For those who have been manufacturing centric all of their working lives this task may seem insurmountable.
The bottom line is there are experts who do this for a living and if they are good they don’t come cheap – bit like a Heidelberg press really.
There will always be printers – but they are definitely going to be of the web savvy variety. So before you invest in your next piece of print hardware, budget for web strategy, after all this is what is going to guarantee your survival.