Lexmark is Crushing it in Color – Lexmark Largest Ever National Dealer Show

David Ramos
Aug 26, 2016

Lexmark’s National Dealer Show, May 9th – 11th, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida absolutely DID NOT SUCK.  This was my first time attending a Lexmark event as an analyst and no offense to Lexington, Kentucky but did I ever luck out that my first Lexmark event was held in sunny Florida and bonus, just a few hours from home in lovely Orlando.  Winning!

I arrived early on the 9th and was greeted by this scene right outside my room, which I thought was a great way to kick things off because Lexmark Dealers owned the beach that week, absolutely owned it!

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Lexmark literally owned the Ft. Lauderdale Beach.

Mike Johnson, VP of North America Business Channels, kicked off Day 1 thanking the members of the press for their support, management for their support, dealers for their support…which I thought was a really nice touch to do in an in depth fashion, discuss how each of the mentioned groups uniquely contributes to Lexmark’s overall success.

I know the theme of the event was overwhelmingly about color and A4 potential for dealers.  But one of my key takeaways from the event overall was balance.  These OEM events can be overwhelming at times with too many vendor partners and “solutions” presented but this event although it had a high number of partners; they managed to keep it in an intimate enough settings that you didn’t feel overcome.  Many great partner companies were at this event including ACDI and Strategy Development, MWAi with their popular dealer-ERP system FORZA, Business Technology Association and many others.

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The Awesome Team from MWAi.

Unless you have been living on the moon, you know that Lexmark was acquired by purchasing consortium Apex Technology, PAG Asia Capital and Legend Capital (a major stakeholder in Lenovo) and I thought that Ron Binkauskas, VP and GM, NA Imaging Solutions and Services did a great job describing the purchase as a “Strategic Alternative Process” and also that Lexmark branding will remain the same and that management will also stay in place.  This would behoove the purchasing consortium because this Lexmark team is really made up of solid individuals but also as a team have a real track record of success together.

Brock Saladin, VP and GM Global Channel Sales and Marketing shared Lexmark’s Channel Strategy.  Traditional Office Equipment Dealers (OED) represents the most strategic area of focus for Lexmark along with their focus to SMB.  This group grew 23% in revenue from last year and with the launch of some really nice products, I would expect more of the same in the coming year.

Phil Boatman did an outstanding job of walking the press core through the new product line and the one that was most exciting (yes, I just said a print product was exciting) was the XC 8160/8150.  Bar none, the hottest new A4 product on the market.

  • 120 images per minute scanning

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    Phil Boatman, Business Alliance Manager US Business Channels

  • MSRP – $26,000, increased to allow leasing flexibility.
  • <.01 monochrome
  • <.07 color
  • Feeds heaviest stock in its class
  • Roll off packaging
  • Multi-position stapling
  • Hole punch options
  • 4 year warranty covers parts and maintenance kits (labor for first year) CPM full color A4 MFPs.

This product and associated launch has one key component that will allow for it to succeed.  You see other OEMs and traditional OEDs in our industry shy away from A4 devices so as to maintain their base of A3 devices which is where 50% of their revenues come from and they need a healthy 35% equipment margin so as to incentivize their sales people to actually sell the devices (because they like to earn commissions).  Well this A4 device was built like a robust A3 as far as serviceability and with the margin structure of A3 on the financial side, this will keep the sales rep engaged, keep the dealer owner’s happy because equipment revenue won’t fall off the cliff…additionally let’s be honest here people, if only 2% of paper manufactured is 11X17, how much click revenue do you think you are actually generating on that size media and how long before A4 competitors start pointing out that the A3 vendor is overselling them on hardware?  Watch this “Steel Jungle Gym” by Lexmark become a trend as A4 centric companies start to disrupt the A3 market.  Oh, it’s going to happen doubters, I know who you are, I hear you snickering. Well, the data is the data all you haters…Lexmark color unit sales for 1st half of 2016 grew 80% YOY.  That’s right, 80%!

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I sat at a table all to myself…Scott Cullen tells me its because I’m special…I’m still not sure if he meant it in a positive way.

There were some excellent guest speakers as well.  Sandy Cross, Senior Director, Diversity and Inclusion, PGA of America.  Her topic was, well, Diversity & Inclusion…and she did a stellar job of discussing how the PGA is driving new customer growth and participation in golf.  Also, Bob Goldberg, General Counsel, Business Technology Association did a remarkable job with a dealer panel that included Tom McMahon, VP & GM, Florida Operations for Milner, Inc. Jim Fall, VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development for Cannon IV.  Vennetta Diesel, Sales Manager for Millennium Business Systems and finally John Hastings, Senior Vice President, Sales for Loffler Companies, Inc.  Now, just between you and I, I normally take a nap when Goldberg speaks but for this event he really captivated the audience with some great questions for the dealers, so I was able to stay awake the entire session.  Great job, Bob!!!

I also gave a keynote and as usual, I was spectacular. However it is truly bizarre doing a write up and describing to everyone that you literally just gave a keynote for the ages (You hear me Lou Slawetsky? A keynote for the ages, as in, the best of all time.) and that said keynote should impact dealers strategy for the future relative to MPS and A4…so, I’ll just do this.  Click on this link MPS: You Need to Get it Right Now! and read this article by Tom Callinan, he does a great job of encapsulating everything I presented and he does it with a very poignant message for the dealer community.

A special thank you and congratulations to the entire team at Lexmark, Ron Binkauskas, VP and GM, NA Imaging Solutions and Services, Mike Johnson, VP NA Business Channels & SMB, Tom Knight, VP and GM of R&D, Brock Saladin, BP & GM Global Channel Sales & Marketing, Greg Chavers, Director US Copier Channel Sales, Brian Henderson, Director Global Marketing, Phil Boatman, Business Alliance Manager US Business Channels , and finally Sean Endicot (the Magic Mike of the industry), Senior Manager, NA Channel Business Development.  You all did great work putting on a fabulous event, that was channel-centric and office technology dealer focused.

Intel Teases VR Market with Project Alloy Headset

Colin McMahon
Aug 19, 2016
To date, the virtual reality (VR) headset market has been developing along two paths: wired devices that need a computer to run, and wireless devices that run off a smartphone. Intel, however, is looking to enter the market in a bold new way. Its proposed Project Alloy, unveiled August 16th, is a complete wireless VR platform. For the first time, users will be able to enter VR wherever they are, without the aid of further technology.

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Are You UnDocumented? Your Workflow Needs a Guide!

Pat McGrew
Aug 16, 2016

In the last installment the first item in the Workflow Quiz asked if there was documentation for your workflow architecture, and if it is was up-to-date. It turns out that many of you don’t know if there is current documentation on your production workflow, even though it is the backbone of your company. This isn’t too surprising. Every production workflow has many moving parts, often installed at different times but different stakeholders. Once software tools are installed the processes that use the tools may never be documented, with the user manuals for each component considered the documentation. The truth is, that isn’t a documented workflow.

Question Mark and Workflow


A truly documented production workflow identifies all of the touch points,
from the point where a job is brought on board to the workflow process,
through each step until the final delivery requirements are met.


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Rediscovering Real Books in Today’s Electronic Age

Eve Padula

Earlier this month, I read a great article in The New York Times about the benefits of reading real books to your children. I’ve been an avid reader all of my life and a mom for nearly three years, so this article piqued my interest. It also got me thinking about how my own reading habits have changed over time.

As a child, I grew up using physical books. Pretty much everything that I read for education or enjoyment was some form of ink on paper. I also grew up using screens—my family had a home computer and TVs, but e-Readers were a long way off at that point. The books that I read were “book books.”

I bought my first iPad about 5 years ago, and my personal reading habits began to change. Although I still have shelves of physical books, most of the books that I purchase these days are in electronic form. My iPad became my library, and although there was still something appealing about ink-and-paper books, I became fully entrenched in electronic reading. I didn’t think I’d ever go back.

Then I became a mom.

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Canon Launches Latest Version of Cloud Portal and uniFLOW Online

Anne Valaitis
Aug 8, 2016

Canon U.S.A., Inc., announced today Version 2.0 of its ADVANCE Cloud Portal for compatible imageRUNNER ADVANCE systems and the availability of uniFLOW Online, a multi-tenant, cloud-based print management solution. uniFLOW Online enables small and medium sized businesses a way to manage their print environment without the need for a local server. ADVANCE Cloud Portal V2.0 helps users directly scan, store and print documents to and from their cloud file services.

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Epson Highlights Latest Innovations at NYC Summer Showcase 2016

Barbara Richards

On August 2-4th, Epson showcased their latest innovations in creativity and design, photography and graphics, business productivity, mobile printing, big-screen home entertainment and wearable technology.  The three day event was held in New York City and highlighted new products within their business, gallery and industry and home lifestyle sectors.

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New Wide-Format EcoTank All-in-One Printers

During the event Epson announced two new models based on their revolutionary EcoTank technology, the all new WorkForce ET-16500 wide-format and the Expression ET-3600 All-in-One Printers. The new printers deliver cartridge-free printing with easy to fill supersized ink tanks and up to two years of ink in the box. InfoTrends wrote extensively about the new EcoTank engines when they first were introduced http://www.infotrends.com/content/CDP/CDPNA/Insight/2015/08/15inNEE0820.pdf

The Workforce ET-16500 is the first PrecisionCore® engine to offer wide format in the SuperTank category with in-box ink yields of up to 10,500 black and 11,000 color pages. According to Epson, it can print up to 13 x 19 paper size and copy and scan up to 11 x 17. Plus, the new wide-format printer has a 500 sheet paper capacity and a specialty paper feed tray. In addition to the new paper  handling features, the unit ships with a 4.3” user-friendly color touchscreen. Similar to the previous models both engines are equipped with built-in, easy-to-use wireless and Wi-Fi Direct capabilities so users can print directly from tablets and smartphones across a range of operating systems, as well as through Epson Connect™ solutions (Epson’s cloud print and scan service).

Epson WorkForce ET-16500

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Market Positioning

According to Nils Madden, marketing director, Desktop Imaging and Printing at Epson, “The all new ET-16500 and ET-3600 not only expand the Epson portfolio of Supertank printers, but serve as proof points for the success of this category in the North American printer market, underscoring Epson’s commitment to delivering printing solutions that meet a range of customer needs.” Epson believes the EcoTank line solves one of the biggest pain points with customers which are running out of ink. Compared with traditional inkjet devices, the EcoTank printers are equivalent to about 50 ink cartridge sets or up to 11,000pgs.  Furthermore, the real cost savings is within the total cost of ownership. While consumers have to purchase more upfront than comparable inkjet printers in their class, the price of consumables over time more than outweighs the upfront costs.

Epson has maintained that these products have been well received in emerging markets with significant market share gains. These products have also had success in North America. According to InfoTrends 2015 Placements & Market Share Forecast, Epson’s business inkjet shipments grew 7.9% year-over-year and held the number 2 market share position overall within this segment.

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Cefla Finishing Acquires a Majority Stake in JetSet Industrial

Ron Gilboa
Aug 4, 2016

Today, Cefla Finishing group announced that it had acquired a majority stake (60%) in JetSet Industrial S.r.l., a manufacturer and integrator of inkjet printing systems for a range of applications and industries. JetSet Industrial’s move into inkjet printing started in 2012 in Bergamo, Italy, which is also home of several other inkjet equipment suppliers.

Still a start-up in many ways, JetSet is a bespoke supplier of decorative printing systems for ceramic, glass, textiles, and woodworking materials. JetSet has the skill set to integrated technology as well as develop materials in support of their printing technologies. This makes the company a turn-key supplier to its customers. According to Hoovers.com, the company has eleven employees and generated $2.15 million in revenues in the past year. JetSet has also invested heavily in their core capabilities for inkjet system integration.

JetSet Wave Integrated Color Single-Pass Print Head Module

JetSet Wave Integrated Color Single-Pass Print Head Module

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Color Plus Personalization: Selling the Value of Inkjet

Barb Pellow and Eve Padula
Aug 1, 2016

In today’s market, making a good first impression is everything. With information overload at every turn, people will now only glance at a website, mailpiece, or video before deciding whether it’s worth their time. Marketers are seeking strategies to create better pieces with strong visual appeal that prompt the consumer to read further or take action. For many marketers, this means turning to color and personalization.

An Infographic from Kissmetrics on how color can affect conversions highlighted the psychological impact of color on the human brain. Key statistics are as follows:

  • 93% of people say that the visual dimension is the #1 influencing sense that affects their purchasing decision (over taste, smell, etc.).
  • Studies suggest that people make a subconscious judgment about a product within 90 seconds of initially viewing it. Up to 90% of this assessment is based on color alone.
  • Magazine readers recognize full-color ads 26% more often than black & white ads.

It is no wonder that today’s marketers are focused on adding more and more color to communications. According to InfoTrends’ 2016 State of the Market Study on Customer Engagement Technologies, over 80% of enterprises stated that full-color printing for promotional and transactional communications is important.

Figure 1: How important do you think it is to switch printed communications from black & white to full color?

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According to InfoTrends’ study entitled Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth, the intelligent use of color in direct mail often generates improved response rates. Full-color images can capture a consumer’s attention with realistic depictions of advertised products. Color can also be used to personalize messages by matching pictures or text to items that the customer has purchased in the past. Furthermore, nearly 49% of consumers reported that seeing color on an envelope had a moderate or major effect on their likelihood of opening it.

The use of color in customer communications is not a new phenomenon. Historically, direct mailers and transactional communication service bureaus have digitally printed in black & white and relied on offset-printed shells to provide color design elements such as logos, highlighted text, and tints. Today, however, digital technologies can deliver near-offset quality and high speeds, all while meeting today’s marketing requirements for 100% variable content and envelope messaging.

For marketers, the inkjet value proposition transcends far beyond cost per print. It offers the ability to deliver color that gets noticed with a completely new approach to communications. Service providers must educate customers about how inkjet technology blends full color with individualized messaging to drive business growth. Print/marketing service providers must articulate how they can support enterprises in delivering communications efficiently and effectively.

The investment in inkjet is about delivering new levels of value to your customer base. Today’s print engines, finishing technologies, and workflow solutions have the flexibility to deliver on the age-old promise of one-to-one personalized messaging in full color. Marketing executives are seeking techniques to improve customer loyalty and grow their businesses with more engaging and dynamic communications. It’s time for service providers to have the right conversations with customers and help them get noticed!


For more information on InfoTrends’ 2016 State of the Market Study on Customer Engagement Technologies or InfoTrends’ Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services study, please contact Keith LaVangie at (781)616-2132 or keith.lavangie@infotrends.com.

The Phenomenon that is Pokémon Go

Colin McMahon
Jul 22, 2016

Pokémon Go, an augmented reality (AR) app for Android and iOS, launched in the U.S. and Australia on July 6, 2016 – less than one month ago. Since then, the app has exploded in popularity with gamers and the media. In its short lifespan, it has made multiple headlines and is engaging a larger active user base than some of the most popular social apps like Tinder, Twitter, and even Facebook. Spontaneous social gatherings – some with thousands of people – have been happening around the world. Pokémon Go is taking the world by storm, and it is not even available in every major country yet (Chinese release date is still TBA).

Pokemon_Go

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Fujifilm opens “Wonder Photo Shop” in the heart of New York City

David Haueter
Jul 19, 2016

On Friday July 22nd, Fujifilm will open the new “Wonder Photo Shop” at 176 5th Avenue in the shadow of the famous Flatiron Building in New York City. The New York City shop is the first U.S. location and the ninth storefront in the world.  The first shop was established in Tokyo in 2014, with other shops located in Barcelona, Bogata, Manila, Shanghai, and Singapore. After attending a media event just a few days before the store opened, I’m confident that New Yorkers will embrace the shop and that it will fulfill one of Fujifilm’s goals, which is for people to become more immersed in the joy of photography.

Wonder Photo Shop gets ready to open

Wonder Photo Shop gets ready to open

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