Day 13: Charting Wide-Format Printing’s Course – Profit Centers Beyond Print

14 days of critical information to prepare your business for 2012.

Big Picture

BPIC: What about profit centers beyond pure print work? Electronic digital displays? Fulfillment? Design? Other?

Tim Greene, InfoTrends:  How about “all of the above”? Even if the market for 2011 and 2012 is stable – meaning there are no major disruptions from a demand standpoint – printers need to continue to find ways to drive new revenue streams and grow their top and bottom lines. We all love some of the high-value “project” jobs that printers can really make some money on, so how do you get customers to buy this kind of work? Outward marketing should focus on these solutions that printers can offer, whether it’s alternatives to digital graphics (like electronic digital displays) that augment the services you provide, or other services such as adding QR codes and interactive elements to signs and graphics, design consulting, installation and management services, etc.

Art Wynne, BERTL: We are seeing a big push for digital signage out in the market. Manufacturers are busy laying the groundwork and setting up the infrastructure for ways in which they can deliver this service to a wider market. Most malls that I’ve visited this year have implemented electronic digital displays promoting different retail brand products, video games, or new movies. We expect to see an increased demand and wider market applications.

Dan Marx, SGIA:  Profit centers beyond pure print work have become a critical opportunity area where print companies can differentiate themselves in our increasingly competitive marketplace by offering the customer a broader range of choices and an easier path from project initiation to final delivery or installation. Print quality, on-time delivery and good customer services are expected by all clients. They want to know what you can offer them beyond those expected basics.

Marco Boer, IT Strategies:  As far as electronic displays go, the infrastructure investment required to put them in place is likely beyond the scope of most print shops and even wide-format printer manufacturers. In China, where electronic displays are quite common in major transportation hubs, they still send around a worker on a bicycle with a USB stick to upload content changes. The cost (wireless networks, electrical infrastructure, etc.) and regulatory hurdles (are you broadcasting, what FCC licenses and laws do you need to adhere to) are going to remain major hurdles for the wide-format-graphics industry to switch from print to electronic displays. The displays are relatively inexpensive and available now, but the backbone infrastructure is not.

The Big Picture has assembled five of the marketplace’s most informed analysts and consultants and asked them to help you evaluate the wide-format industry. Each day over the next two weeks, we’ll post a new, critical question from The Big Picture with invaluable answers from our panel – all designed to help you ensure that your company charts its best course for a prosperous year ahead.

Our 2011 panel participants include: Marco Boer, consulting partner, I.T. Strategies (; Tim Greene, director, visual communication technologies consulting service, InfoTrends (; Dan Marx, vice president, markets & technologies, SGIA (; Peter Mayhew, director, Lyra Research Europe (; and Art Wynne, president, Business Equipment Research and Test Laboratories (BERTL,

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Click here for Day 12 Q & A on Sustainability. And stay tuned for Day 14 of Charting Wide Format's Course – Advice for 2012!


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