American Printer's mission is to be the most reliable and authoritative source of information on integrating tomorrow's technology with today's management.
Jul 1, 2013 12:00 AM
BY BOB ROSEN
Navigating the path from printer to marketing solutions provider and beyond
The printing industry is filled with sad stories of companies that have committed completely to new business models only to learn how long it takes to make the transition.
Many companies have a visionary view of a digital future, but they’ve been so focused on building a model for the long term that they’ve run out of money in the short term.
It’s exciting to build an entirely new business model, and it’s easy to overlook the burdens of bringing in enough work to cover daily costs. That’s why managing the process of profitable change isn’t a simple matter of choosing between being heroic or timid.
After a midsize printer closed about a year ago. he CEO of the doomed company told an interviewer, “We tried offering marketing services, and some clients went for it, but it was a long, hard slog. We just weren’t prepared for how long it would take and how difficult and expensive it would be to develop the new capabilities. It didn’t cost much for the equipment; it was the staffing in entirely new areas: marketing people, designers, programmer/developers, and people to sell the new services, because most of our existing salespeople just couldn’t get comfortable with the higher-level sale.”
TRANSFORMATION TAKES TIME
Being successful in selling entirely new added-value services requires much more than calling yourself a “marketing solutions provider.” It requires an entirely new skillset, a new way of thinking, and new kinds of people who probably know very little (and care even less) about printing.
THREE BASIC STEPS
There are only three fundamental steps involved in making the transition. The details will take a little longer to explain.
IT’S A DIFFERENT WORLD....
New kinds of sales will require an entirely new kind of selling effort. In fact, they’ll require you to create quite a different kind of company with a different range of services, different capabilities and different kinds of people. Consider the following questions:
Your company will be different in almost every way—except that you’ll still be operating in a tough, competitive environment, and the underlying economics won’t be changing for the foreseeable future.
SEE BOB AT THE SHOW
Bob is president of R.H. Rosen Associates. He’s finalizing his PRINT 13 speaking engagements as well as book signing plans for “The New Graphic Arts CEO: Getting Your Company Safely from Here to There.”
Talk to Bob at B2Me.me/BC6