Ask the Experts: Standing Out in a Crowded Market
Could a new application or strategy boost your shop?
We asked six digital print specialists to respond to the current state of the industry and reveal what we should expect in 2017.
Big Picture: What should print shops do to help differentiate themselves in this ever-growing and changing market?
Steve Urmano, Director of Wide Format, InfoTrends: Be different. Do your homework. Find the underserved markets and figure out the best way to serve them.
Mark Hanley, President, I.T. Strategies: Reinvent themselves as IT-oriented masters of data management and dataflow movement in real time, and accept that print is becoming a technology component and no longer an artisan skill.
Marco Boer, VP, I.T. Strategies: It sounds trite, but print shops need to get out of their comfort zone. Try something new and crazy. Fail, but don’t quit. Try again, until you find that unmet need through a unique product offering, vertical market, etc.
Sean Smyth, Print Consultant, Smithers Pira: Look at what customers are demanding, identify their pain points, and solve them. This will usually be broader than the traditional prepress, printing, finishing, and delivery. Get involved in the design and development stages, providing advice on the best methods of production and techniques that have been successful for other customers. Try to become part of the customer team, rather than a jobbing supplier.
Amy Machado, Research Manager of Production and Large Format Print Markets, IDC: Take advantage of business-development services from your hardware vendor. Partner with your supplier to educate the market on the high value of digital print. The penetration of digital print in the packaging market is still quiet, so stake out your territory. Folding carton, flexible packaging, and corrugated have huge growth potential. Find out what your customers are struggling with and help them solve the problem. Actively engage the print buyers, who often don’t care how their packaging is printed as long as it meets their needs in terms of cost, image quality, and turnaround time.