Evolution of the Print Service Provider – why it’s time to get closer to your corporate clients

It’s Monday 8:30 AM, the day’s print production has not even started and you have just got that call that you dread. Your sales rep has called you to tell you that a reshuffle at your biggest corporate client has meant that your purchasing contact has left.

The organisation has brought in a new purchasing manager and now they want to switch all of their corporate print to their supplier of choice. Now it seems that no new business is likely to come your way.

This is potentially a nightmare scenario for printers; you can lose a big corporate client without any warning or time to consider the impact on your business – or have an opportunity to fight your corner.

Most Print Service Providers do not have a relationship with their clients’ management that influence the overall marketing strategy. Instead they communicate with a print buyer not a marketer – and this is the fundamental issue in the above scenario.

Digital first can mean print last

These days many marketers have a digital first strategy, where most of the marketing team’s focus and energies goes into digital communications. Print can be seen as a low priority item.

Unfortunately this means that the Print Service Provider (PSP) is seen by many marketing executives as a commodity, providing something that can always be done cheaper by someone else, and switched without any real impact on their day to day business.

This is why in many cases print is managed by purchasing and not marketing. So how does a PSP start to influence beyond the purchasing department?

How can a Print Service Provider start influencing marketing executives?

Direct marketing banner

First,  offer great personalised print  

Providing personalised and relevant content is a growing requirement for marketing as it is proven to drive response rates – and is therefore a great opportunity for the PSP to offer added value to their corporate clients via personalised printed collateral.

Adding links to enable interactive content that bridges offline and online media via QR codes, Personal URLs (PURLs) and visual search technology (such as Ricoh’s Clickable Paper) help to ensure that print can enable and link to other aspects of a wider digital marketing strategy.

Second, add value

There is also a huge amount of other corporate assets that need to be created as part of marketing communications. For instance, signage and display, videos, digital assets, etc.

You may well wonder how the PSP can add value here. Helping the brand manage all of this, as well as the printed piece, is the key part of moving from a print only based supplier to becoming an integral part of your client’s business.

Third, enable controlled customisation

Customisation of assets to make them relevant for a local market is a growing requirement for a corporate brand.

Typically local agents and franchisees want to adapt collateral supplied from central HQ Marketing to make it relevant for their local market or customers. However, enabling asset customisation whilst protecting the brand is a major challenge for most corporates and there is not an easy solution.

Helping to manage the brand

In summary, there are major opportunities for Print Service Providers to help Corporate clients, but it has to go beyond print alone and start to help them solve the everyday issues they face in managing and protecting the brand.

Managing and protecting the brand is a key issue for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or brand manager. It is vitally important to ensure that the brand is presented and protected across all of the collateral, campaigns and via its remote channels to market such as local outlets.

How to get started

What the PSP needs to do is get so entrenched in the client’s organisation at the highest level possible, so that no matter which individuals come and go it remains integral to the way the organisation does business and is not easily dislodged.

This can mean building relationships with contacts other than those responsible for buying print such as the brand manager or CMO. In many cases the PSP does not have a relationship with these people. After all, print is only a fraction of what they care about, so why should they even bother speaking to a print service provider? What does a PSP know about managing the brand?

If your clients have any of the following branding challenges, then you have a great opportunity to help them solve them:

  • A widely spread organisation with a strong brand identity
  • Tight brand control and messaging with lots of “stuff” to manage
  • Getting content into the hands of stakeholders, e.g franchisees
  • Customisation that is not controlled

The challenge with evolving from supplying print to supplying a wider variety of marketing services is how do you get started, what services do you offer and what solutions do you need to invest in?

Ricoh Marketing Asset Management (MAM) Solutions for PSPs

MarcomCentral® from PTI (a Ricoh company) is already used by a large number of global corporate clients, and by PSPs providing services to their corporate clients.

 

Intelligent Marketing Overview

Intelligent Marketing Overview

For a PSP, MarcomCentral offers its clients “evolution in a box”. It enables the PSP to offer a service to its clients that helps them control their brand, manage branding challenges and solve highly complex branding dilemmas – avoiding issues like rogue marketing, pre-printed stationery costs and much more.

MarcomCentral allows the PSP to offer clients their own branded portal offering both static and customisable assets. These are configured in the portal by the PSP via templates that allow the brand to lock down corporate elements (logos, colour schemes, etc.) but allow customisation of other specified areas. Templates can include print, direct mail pieces, PowerPoint, email and video assets.

These assets are presented within the portal to registered users using an intelligent menu-driven user interface, ensuring that incompatible selections are not possible. Items can be customised (within the boundaries defined), previewed and then either downloaded locally (if authorised) or ordered via the integrated e-commerce module. Print orders are routed to the PSP and other items (such as apparel) are routed to alternative suppliers that the PSP manages. It is a true marketing service offering managed by the PSP.

This is reinforced by the Danish client BordingLinks who purchased and installed MarcomCentral in 2015 from Ricoh. Mads Busk (IT Manager) explains as follows:

“By providing the means for our customers to manage their marketing assets, we have made it easier for them to do business with us. We are now engaged earlier in the process and, controlling the workflow, we are winning more of our customers’ business.”

 

Find out more

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

At drupa 2016 Ricoh will be presenting a range of solutions and applications, including MarcomCentral, showing print service providers how they can work with their key corporate clients to help them solve their complex brand compliance challenges – and “open new worlds” for their own business to evolve from just print based offerings to broader marketing based services.

http://www.ricoh-europe.com/open-new-worlds/

 

Insights from Ricoh’s first Global Innovation Summit

In my role as Head of Commercial Print Operations for Ricoh Europe, I am constantly looking to grow our presence in the Graphics Arts market.  That’s why from 27-29 January Ricoh organised its first Innovation Summit in Tokyo for 15 of the largest commercial printers globally. This is part of Ricoh’s Large Commercial Print Program initiative, under which the 100 largest commercial printers are members of the program and globally get benefits of the program like Global Account Management, joint business development activities, national/international senior management sponsorship and close interaction with Global Ricoh R&D.

As part of this program Ricoh organised for the first time the Innovation Summit. The main goals were for the customers to get new insights into the market via external key note speakers and Ricoh’s strategy and future developments as shared by the senior management.

Attendees of first Ricoh Global Innovation Summit Jan 2016

Attendees of the first Ricoh Innovation Summit 2016 in Tokyo

The Innovation Summit was kicked off by Zenji Miura, CEO Ricoh worldwide with a strong message about strengthening our customer centric approach and continue our investment and focus in the Commercial Print business. No surprise of course as this is seen as one the major growth areas of Ricoh and a very reassuring message for the commercial printers in the room.

After this intro by Zenji Miura, external key note speakers Abe Smith from Oracle, Marco Boer from IT Strategies and Ulbe Jelluma from Printpower followed. They talked about the speed of change in current society and the digital disruption.

Some interesting conclusions to consider:

  • Only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 are still active
  • 75% of auto shopping is done on-line, before stepping in showroom
  • Offset pages shrinking 6% year over year, but not always because of digital print
  • Digital print is growing 8% per year, with colour inkjet growing 20% year over year last 7 years
  • Printing is still very much alive, but need to add value and complement with digital media
  • Digital colour print remains on the growth path with inkjet leading the charge
  • Number one priority for marketeers is increasing the customer experience, lowering costs is only second
  • Need to ask ourselves the question if we are in the business of print or in business of producing meaningful and impactful communication.

Also worth mentioning is Ulbe Jelluma’s presentation in which he explained how agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix. He highlighted some new print applications all driven by the generation of emotions in using print like putting a mint flavour on the tickets of a parking garage drawing the attention to the ticket with an advertisement of Extra mint!

Another example of ‘existing content, different application’ with books that are printed in Brazil for the public transport authorities, serving as a ticket and a planner at the same time as being a reading book. Or what to think about a plasticised newspaper that can act as an umbrella, in a country such as Ecuador ‘where it rains a lot’?

All creative examples of how print is being used in many new and different ways.

As the voice of the customer, Lynn Terhune from publisher John Wiley & Sons and Makoto Enomoto from the advertising agency Dentsu explained to the audience what’s happening in their market, what they expect from commercial printers and how they have used digital print to enhance their business for their customers.

Of course senior management from Ricoh gave their views on on the Graphic Arts Market and Ricoh as a company. Key messages expressed were the following:

  • A market leader for 80 years with a spirit of innovation
  • Ricoh invests over $1 billion annually in R&D, and we are a top 100 Global Innovator
  • Ricoh’s Production Printing business growing 18% between 2014 and 2015 and is now generating $2 billion
  • Ricoh has strong commitment to supporting a sustainable and environmentally friendly world
  • Customer Centricity to create value for our customers by delivering high performance solutions, cross media software support and broad range of substrate support
  • Commercial Print/Graphic Arts seen as key growth initiative for Ricoh and commitment to continue to invest in this market

This approach was very pervasive during the visit to Ebina, Ricoh’s R&D facility with 5000 R&D persons that work day in day out on developing new innovative solutions, which fit the needs of our customers.

During the Open House we showed under non-disclosure some specific new developments for inkjet, industrial and reprographic applications, which will certainly help our customers develop their business.

We created a special mailer for the event, to showcase the latest Ricoh technologies.For more information see: Making an Impact at Ricoh’s Global Innovation Summit.

And finally Christian Haneke from Print and Service Group Haberbeck presented the reasons for their investment in the Ricoh Pro VC60000 being the first one in Germany. A perfect example of a company who has adapted to the changes in the market and developed into a full service media provider for print and non-print.

This day was ended with an interesting presentation from Robert Crooker from Heidelberg, who talked about digitalization as it also is for Heidelberg a key enabler for future growth.

So for me Ricoh’s first Innovation Summit was a great success and featured a series of diverse speakers with a broad spectrum of experiences, insights and predictions to share. It seemed that all customers got a better idea of scale and commitment that Ricoh has dedicated to helping commercial printers successfully grow their business.

Finally one statement stuck with me which I think we constantly have to remind ourselves as being part of the printing industry is:

Are we in the business of print or in the business of producing meaningful and impactful communication?

Eef De Ridder Head of Commercial Printing Operations, Ricoh Europe

Eef De Ridder
Head of Commercial Print  Operations, Ricoh Europe

Responding to the new publishing landscape

Publishers face many challenges in a rapidly evolving marketplace, but Ricoh’s new Pro VC 60000 means that long lead times on new publications need not be one of them

Ricoh VC60000 Colour Inkjet in action at Hansaprint, Finland

Ricoh VC60000 Colour Inkjet in action at Hansaprint, Finland

How things have changed. Only a few years ago people were predicting the death of the book as, e-books achieved exponential sales growth.

But two significant developments have demonstrated that the print book market remains alive and well.

Several weeks ago British high street bookseller Waterstones decided to stop selling Kindles due to “virtually no sales”, perhaps marking a watershed in the evolution of e-books. More recently, Amazon announced that it was opening a physical book store in Seattle.

So what is going on in the market—and what next for books?

Have e-books now reached their plateau?

Since the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle device, e-books have seen meteoric growth. They now account for nearly 25% of book sales in the US, and nearly 15% in the UK. However, many people that we talk to within the publishing industry believe that e-book sales have reached a plateau, especially in the US and UK. Indeed, the latest data from Nielsen shows that physical books sales actually increased, by 2% year on year.

This coincided with a decrease in e-book sales for the first time ever in the US.

But this does not necessarily mean that people have fallen out of love with e-books—rather, it indicates a wider pattern.

First, the e-book market is maturing.

The “land-grab” days are over, when e-book makers, content providers and publishers cut prices to drive market share. There has been consolidation among e-book providers.

Recent e-book price rises implemented by Amazon have made e-books less attractive as an alternative to print. “Large book publishers—including Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—recently won, after a hard-fought battle, the ability to set their own prices for e-books. But now, as prices for many e-books have risen, the industry is seeing a slump in sales,” reports Nova Safo, a broadcast journalist for Marketplace.

Last but not least, printed books have proven to have an enduring appeal. Whereas there has been a wholesale shift from print to electronic in some segments—especially academic journals and novels—in other segments, demand for print remains strong, with year-on-year growth in Adult Non-Fiction (+5%), Adult Fiction (+3%), Juvenile Non-Fiction (+11%, all data from Nielsen). Perhaps this should not be such a great surprise. Electronic delivery has revolutionised the journals market and expanded the reach of scientific and medical publishing. However, there is strong demand for printed children’s books.

The new world of publishing

So the bigger picture has been that, while demand for individual books has been declining, the dynamics of the market have been changing. There has been an explosion in the number of new titles published. In fact, according to European Book Publishing statistics, in the EMEA markets, more than 500,000 new titles are now published every year.

At the same time, Amazon has set the bar high for customer service. Increasingly consumers are expecting fast delivery—of around 24 hours for a paperback, or 48 hours for hardback.

This creates a whole new business model. Publishers increasingly need to plan their business around high availability of a very large range of titles, and low stock levels to reduce their risk. Nowadays, a major publisher will typically have 80,000 plus titles available via Print on Demand.

In a way this is the same as delivering e-books: consumers can access a large catalogue and can order what they want, when they want it.

Virtual stock means print to order

This is exactly what major academic and scientific publisher Elsevier has been doing with its journals, which are literally printed to order in very small quantities using a highly efficient supply chain.

Key to this are the latest developments in digital print technology. The first wave of colour inkjet devices used by book manufacturers has helped to change the market by providing a compelling business case for short runs, produced quickly. This has already revolutionised the academic book market and some areas of mono trade books.

Now, with the launch of new colour inkjet devices such as the Ricoh Pro VC 60000, it is now feasible to print colour trade books in the same way. At our recent publishers event, held in Boulder, Colorado, we demonstrated that the Pro VC can now deliver a quality that can actually be better than offset. This opens up many new opportunities for publishers to take advantage of the compelling business case for short-run (and long-run) colour inkjet printing for books and journals that were either printed offset—or indeed, not even printed at all.

The ‘infinite print run’

These are exciting times for publishing and book manufacturing. The whole business model is changing.

For publishers this not only reduces their risk, but also opens up significant opportunities to extract more value from their content. Now it is viable to produce even high-quality, colour trade books in very small quantities—and in short lead times too. This potentially means that books can be launched to the market quicker and be kept in print indefinitely.

To find out more about Ricoh’s solutions for publishing, visit www.ricoh-europe.com/publishing

This article originally appeared in the FutureBook 2015 Conference Programme. 

An Intelligent Choice for Brands Combating Overextension

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard Vice President, Production Printing Group, EMEA

In a world where consumers’ attention is increasingly spread thin and organisations’ IT and marketing departments are spread even thinner, now can be a frustrating time for marketing departments and service providers. Everyone wants faster turnaround times, higher-quality output, cross-platform promotions, and they want it now – even when “now” isn’t during business hours.

Introducing Ricoh Intelligent Marketing Solutions

The solutions we offer aim to address these concerns, helping marketers create consistent, high-quality marketing collateral while reducing costs and lessening burdens on their organisation. In this way we can help make your marketing communications more effective and less costly. Importantly we can also make it an easier, less time-consuming activity for busy marketing departments.

Intelligent Marketing Overview

Intelligent Marketing Overview

Our solutions address these typical challenges:

  • Are your operations far-flung, making total monitoring and management difficult?
  • Does your brand struggle with inconsistency, especially across platforms and regions?
  • Are you finding certain aspects of the process are costing them productivity, money, or both?
  • Do increasingly high expectations for short turnaround times and 24/7 service make your job harder to do and your customers harder to please?
  • And, perhaps most importantly, is managing it all proving to be just too much, taking away from core business practices and potentially causing their bottom line to suffer?

How Ricoh can help

Products like MarcomCentral aim to streamline the transition from customer order to print-ready job, 24/7; while the FusionPro Product Suite enables a variety of marketing applications (including pURLs, VDP imagery and other customization).. Each of these products targets a different area or aspect of a Marketing Communications workflow, but they share a simple goal: making marketing departments  work easier and more efficient.

Case Study – The World Bank: Marketing Asset Management  lends a helping hand to Printing & Multimedia Services

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The World Bank’s core mission is to reduce global poverty and encourage healthy economies. That’s why they depend on their peoples’ own ‘grass roots’ marketing to educate others about the cause.

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They needed a multi-cultural, multi-lingual environment where all offices could access, localise and distribute the latest marketing materials using a new solution that was fast, flexible and web accessible.
The Results:

  •  Full deployment in less-than 6 months
  •  Tens of thousands of assets available
  •  Huge savings using system’s translation services
  •  Reduced creative workloads by 25%
  •  96% Reduction to processing time for the field (15-18min production time cut to 30secs
  • Increase labor savings per year by just giving users the ability to customise wall maps
  • Positive ROI achieved within first 3 months

Read the full case study

Empower your in-house marketing capability

Find out how Ricoh’s Intelligent Marketing Solutions empower your in-house marketing capability and let you take control of your brand and communication costs.

http://www.ricoh-europe.com/services-solutions/production-printing/corporate-print/intelligent-marketing-solutions/index.aspx

From high volume inkjet to light production cut sheet – Ricoh’s double EDP award recognition

The EDP (European Digital Press Association) awards 2014/15 were held during FESPA last week, when many of Europe’s leading production printing journalists gathered in Cologne for this expanding event. I was delighted to be able to represent Ricoh at the awards ceremony, and to leave clutching not one but two trophies. Firstly in the ‘best production printer web-fed’ category, Ricoh’s brand new groundbreaking ProTM VC60000 took the prize. It was satisfying that the judging panel recognised the unique attributes of this innovative inkjet system, including the offset-like image quality it can produce and the flexible graphic arts oriented digital front end with advanced colour management capability. And then the Ricoh ProTM C7100X series prevailed in the ‘best production cut-sheet printer light production’ category.

Graham Moore Director, Business Development, Ricoh Europe with the two EDP Awards

Graham Moore
Director, Business Development, Ricoh Europe with the two EDP Awards

The judges were clearly impressed by the opportunities for print service providers opened up by the fifth station. As it’s gloss and white toner capability and multiple substrate choice are designed to transform the impact of a broad range of print applications. So it was a successful afternoon for Ricoh. But, more importantly, I hope the EDP’s acknowledgement of the market-leading prowess of these two devices means that more professional print businesses become aware of how they could spearhead their drive for productivity and profitability. And come and talk to us.