Mitch Evans, QP columnist and business consultant: “There will be an acceleration of work going to digital from offset. The number of printers will continue to decline, which leaves more market share for those who hang in there. The most endangered are printers who do not specialize or sell into niche markets. There will be low sales growth. More printers will get into large-format, which will continue to drive down pricing per square foot. Green marketing will become less important as most clients expect their printer to be green, making green not a differentiator any more.
Inkjet innovation in lowering cost and raising speed will continue—it will become clearer that inkjet will replace toner-based printing sooner rather than later. More printers will
look to join peer groups as a way to try to improve and grow. There will be more emphasis on social networking for marketing—LinkedIn will become bigger than Facebook for business.”
Dave Fellman, QP columnist and sales consultant: “I agree with Mitch and would add a few thoughts: Added capacity doesn’t have to drive pricing down in large-format, but it will because most printers sell price, not value.
I hope more printers will join peer groups—and franchises!—but that will still be a very small percentage of all of the printers who need help.
More time will be wasted on social networking than actual benefit derived, especially for the printers who fool around on Facebook rather than working with LinkedIn.
There’ll be lots of talk about making the transition from ‘printer’ to ‘marketing services provider,’ but not a lot of action. The exceptions will be in peer groups and franchises, where they’re getting a lot of support on both the underlying technologies and how to actually make the transition.
The greatest danger to most printers will continue to be the loss of one or more major customers, with migration of printed materials to other media continuing to be the second greatest threat. The solution? Building and maintaining a prospect pipeline and being able to generate revenue from those other media—in other words, making the transition to MSP.
Many (most?) printers remain pessimistic—and will continue to live a self fulfilling prophecy. I see the glass more than half full for progressive printers—way more than half full for those who embrace the future and get themselves out on the front end of the opportunity.”