Business Ink Success Is Not Guaranteed

Zac Butcher
 Aug 26, 2014

At InfoTrends we have been cautiously bullish about the potential of business inkjet technology for a number of years. Given the market potential we have conducted a good deal of research and project work in this area. This work has resulted in a number of findings and naturally it has raised further questions. We are about to embark on the next phase of business ink research and I wanted to share some of our current thinking and set the scene for what we are doing next.

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The Mopria Alliance: Simplifying Print for Mobile Users

Zac Butcher
 Sep 30, 2013

Mopria LogoOn September 24th the Mopria Alliance was announced by founding members Canon, HP, Samsung and Xerox. With the express purpose of driving simple mobile printing this is a move that many involved in the industry will welcome.  Whilst I have been calling for simplification and standardisation for some time, the reality is that a collaboration of this nature requires a great deal of work in the background.  After spending some time on the Mopria Alliance website I was pleasantly surprised by the substance already in place.  For anyone interested there is a detailed FAQ section, a YouTube video and a knowledge centre with plenty of content.  There is also an open house scheduled for prospective alliance members on October 17-18.

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Document Industry Financial Performance Reflects Real Cost of MPS

Zac Butcher
 Mar 28, 2013

At the end of Q1 each year we review the performance of the main players in the document imaging industry. Unfortunately not all vendors provide clear and transparent financial information for their document business so a few companies are always excluded. The table below shows the operating profits of 10 vendors’ imaging and printing divisions over the last three years. All information has been extracted from publicly available sources and converted to a calendar year view to provide a like-for-like comparison. Therefore, the figures may not correspond exactly with vendor quoted numbers for their own financial years.*

Operating profits down, no mention of MPS

The 2010 to 2012 operating profit trend is clearly down, across the board. The explanations that accompany publication of performance data have not yet started to recognise the impact of managed print services (MPS).


Imaging and Printing Operating Profits, 2010 to 2012*

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The Inkjet Home User is Unhappy

Zac Butcher
 Mar 11, 2013

As a marketer I am constantly on the lookout for customer insight. Recently there have been two articles in the UK that resulted in inkjet printer customers willingly sharing what they believe, how they feel, and how these factors drive their behaviour. This is marketing gold dust: customer comments, people’s own words, no manufacturer influence–all without charge. For this reason I wanted to highlight and share two articles.

On February 23rd the Guardian published a piece focusing on the alleged reduction in ink volume in genuine inkjet cartridges. It appears that the Mail Online saw the Guardian article and ran with the idea, publishing its own interpretation on March 4th titled “The great printer rip off: Ink costs more than vintage champers–and devious new tricks mean you constantly have to buy refills.” The author discusses the declining volume of ink being put into cartridges in a style clearly designed to elicit a particular response from the readership. Whilst there is certainly bias resulting from the not very well hidden agenda, the comments are nevertheless instructive, and it is the responses that are my primary interest.

Photo credit:


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HP confirms Printing and Personal Systems Group

Zac Butcher
 Mar 21, 2012

Updated — March 21st

HP has today confirmed the reports in the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. The Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) and the Personal Systems Group (PSG) will be combined into a new business unit, namely the Printing and Personal Systems Group, to be led by Todd Bradley.  Vyomesh Joshi (VJ), the current executive vice president of IPG, is to retire from HP after a 31-year career with the company. This is an interesting, if not entirely unexpected development. Both areas of the business are under pressure; PSG from the rise of mobile computing, IPG from the rise of mobile computing. But that is where the similarity ends.

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Consumer inkjet printing could be marketing myopia 2.0 for Kodak

Zac Butcher
 Jan 20, 2012

Much has been written about creative destruction in relation to Kodak recently.  Kodak’s decline isn’t really anything to do with creative destruction though.  Kodak saw the digital revolution coming and had technology and intellectual property in good time.  So if the lessons are not about creative destruction, what should we take away from all this?  It seems to me that the marketing myopia narrative fits much better.  Although Kodak saw the digital revolution and could respond, it appears the business remained internally focused.  I see some similarities with today’s efforts in the consumer inkjet business.

We continue to hear how post-Chapter 11 restructuring the future for Kodak will still involve consumer inkjet printers.  The parallels between the consumer inkjet business and Kodak’s film and paper business are striking.  There is one major difference though, consumer inkjet business is more toxic for the balance sheet.

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The rescue deal that isn’t a rescue deal – European business uncertainty remains as we enter 2012

Zac Butcher
 Dec 14, 2011

It would have been extremely unwise for EU leaders to leave last week’s Eurozone make-or-break summit without a new announcement.  The latest attempt at a solution saw EU leaders focus on a set of financial rules for the medium-term and not on the immediate issues of unsustainable sovereign debts, rising costs of servicing those debts and lacklustre growth.  Future rules will only be relevant if they ever get to that future.

Ultimately though it was the British veto that stole the headlines.  Everyone involved seems only too willing to continue discussing this sideshow.  The resultant media smokescreen has not been enough to divert attention; people have noticed that another EU meeting has passed without any sign of a credible plan.

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Another day, another EU crisis meeting

Zac Butcher
 Nov 24, 2011

On a recent business trip to the Far East I was discussing the new ‘business as usual’ with clients – consumer expenditure restrained (Thomas Cook is a timely reminder), cost conscious decision making in the public sector, corporate and SME arenas, an ever strengthening focus on environmental sustainability, security concerns and mobility front of mind for IT. I was however surprised at the number of questions I received regarding the implications of the Eurozone crisis for business conditions. On my return to the UK I received similar questions out of the US. On reflection, my business as usual explanation did not explicitly address this topic, although it had been factored in.

I believe that what we have seen in Europe over the last couple of years will be the nature of things for the foreseeable future, barring a major event. The economic and political uncertainty is largely responsible for the current stock market, consumer, business and media sentiment.  Read more »

A new CEO but is it business as usual for IPG?

Zac Butcher
 Sep 24, 2011

The worst kept secret of the week was finally confirmed on Thursday.  Léo Apotheker stepped down at HP with Meg Whitman taking the reins.  Given the pre-warning of the actual event there is more than enough debate out there already about whether or not this is good move for HP so I thought I’d share my thoughts from an IPG perspective.  This won’t take long.  Nothing really changes.

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South Korea breaking the love affair with paper

Zac Butcher
 Jul 8, 2011

Last year I wrote about how I had stopped producing printed pages at home.  If I am completely truthful I have come unstuck a couple of times and have been forced to print by external circumstances.  My contingency plans worked well and with the imminent arrival of a tablet PC, to all intents and purposes my domestic page volume is zero.  Naturally then I was interested yesterday by the news that South Korea is removing paper from schools by 2015.

I often hear that ‘people like paper’.   I have no argument with this assertion.  Today it is largely true.  My issue is when it is used to justify why the current document printing status quo will take decades, maybe even generations, to change in a meaningful way.  Levitt’s theory of marketing myopia has always resonated with me.  History provides numerous case studies but whenever I hear or read that ‘people like paper’ I am convinced I am witnessing marketing myopia in action. Read more »

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