Macro Forces Affecting the Wide-Format Market

During the GOA/FESPA Americas 2011 show in Orlando last week, I had the opportunity to attend and take part in the FESPA Global Business Forum. Stretching across two days, the sessions provided some topical and strategic information for wide-format business owners. I also had the pleasure to moderate a session (The Digital Debate) on Friday afternoon featuring Frank Mallozzi Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, EFI; Robert Smithson, Chief Executive, Trinity Graphic US.A; Anders Nilsson, Owner, Gamleby Screen; and Professor Qinguo Fan, University of Massachusetts. During the opening session of the Global Business Forum, FESPA's Frazer Chesterman and Marcus Timson presented 10 marco forces affecting the wide- and grand-format industry. I wanted to share them with you and get your thoughts as well. 1. Time Time is a limited resource and we are under more and more complex pressures. Customers need—and want—faster and shorter turnarounds on products. Information comes at us from every direction. Business is much more complex and everything impacts directly on our use and management of time. 2. Global Market We are now an interconnected community. How we look at the market will impact our business decisions. Moving forward, China will also have an increasingly large role in global business transactions. 3. Paradigm Shift How we learn and connect with our customers continues to change and evolve. From social media and e-commerce to online seminars, the Internet has provided a way for us to interact with one another on a much larger basis. Communication is no longer one-way.  There is too much noise and information, so effective communication is key. 4. Changing Society We've gone from an agricultural society to industrial to information to a conceptual society. We are in a situation where high-tech is not enough. Creative and conceptual is starting to trump high-tech. it also forces us to look at how things are being done and ask questions: Is overseas production cheaper or better? Can a computer do it faster? Is there enough demand for products in an age of abundance? 5. Creativity Content and creativity is King. Consumers have shifted in the way they think and buy. They've moved from a logical (I need this) to an emotional (I want this) response. This leads to marketers providing more creative solutions that affect the heart. Personalization plays a large role in this. 6. Efficiency Can it be produced faster and at a lower price? Efficient operations have the leg-up on others because of internal processes which can allow them to produce a better product, faster, and at lower price. 7. Sustainability Sustainability is more than just a trend. It involves social responsibility. It's important to address sustainability from both an internal and external perspective. 8. Network & Collaboration It's all about participation. You need to get involved in the conversations. Passively listening is not enough anymore. 9. Technological Changes Technology continues to change at a brisk clip. We see the market converging and multifunctionality is becoming more and more important. Cross media is growing, but print will always have a place within the advertising and marketing. It's important to know how to balance each piece of this ever-evolving puzzle. 10. Our Own Businesses We need to look at: Leadership—Do you foster cooperation and creativity? Talent – the right people doing the right job at the right time. This might include hiring from outside the industry to provide a "fresh" set of eyes and a new perspective. Motivation—it's not always about the money. You need to give your employees the autonomy to do their jobs. They need to have a purpose—and feel ownership. They need to be given the opportunity to be creative. Innovation—What can we do that's new, different, unique?

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