I’ve spoken at two recent graphic arts events where something unusual happened. Chief Executive Officers of billion-plus dollar companies were in attendance speaking to customers and prospects. This is not only unusual, it’s also very symbolic, and it underscores the importance of a kind of event that is happening more and more frequently: invitation-only customer/prospect events held at a company-owned or partner facility. Customers and prospects are flown in, wined & dined, shown the latest product updates, and given a strategy update by senior executives. And in case you were wondering, the marketing dollars spent at these events are very likely those that were saved by not participating at IPEX or other graphic arts trade shows.
At left, Xerox’s Ursula Burns cuts the ribbon while Jeff Jacobson and Paul Morgavi look on; at right, Kodak’s new CEO Jeff Clarke (in tie) with ImageMark’s Walter Payne
Xerox’s Inkjet Summit – The first of the events I spoke at was a Xerox Inkjet Summit at the Impika headquarters in Aubagne, France (near Marseille). Read more »
nGage’s Inkjet Summit is in its second year and it has grown to around 90 end-user attendees and 39 sponsor companies. The concept is relatively simple: find prospective buyers of high-speed inkjet equipment, pay their way to a resort location, and sit them down in front of the sponsors for case study presentations and one-on-one meetings. This assures that the level of knowledge and experience of the average attendee is very impressive. They have done their research and have a good idea of what they need. Not all of the attendees, though, are first-time buyers. Those looking to purchase a second (or third, or fourth) device were also in attendance. They make up a significant portion of the audience and have hands-on familiarity with inkjet technology.
Similar to the first-time buyer/experienced user split, another split was particularly noticeable Read more »
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in Dscoop9 in Orlando, Florida. I got to see more than 2,000 print professionals and over 100 business partners focus on the conference directive of “breaking the mold.” According to Chris Petro, Dscoop’s Chairman and the President and CEO of GlobalSoft Digital Solutions, attendees visited from 33 countries around the world. In addition, 30% of print service providers were first-time attendees.
Education was a critical area of emphasis at Dscoop9, and the Dscoop University portal was officially unveiled at this year’s event. John Tenwinkel, Director of Dscoop University, states, “Dscoop University is designed to provide industry-leading personalized education to help users enhance their corporate strategies and grow their businesses. This blended learning environment offers 24/7 access to training, on-demand content, live-streaming and downloadable resources, and in-person courses. The content is tailored to various job functions, including business owners, sales and marketing, and operations. Dscoop University is designed to ensure that educational opportunities don’t end with the conference.”
Probably the most interesting news item to come out of the recent Canon Solutions America (CSA) briefing was CSA’s announcement that it was forming a user group steering committee, and that it hoped to have its first convention in 2015. The focus of this user group will be production digital print.
Keep in mind that two of the most successful user events in the production digital print space—Dscoop (a cooperative of HP Graphic Arts users) and EFI Connect (the annual EFI worldwide users’ conference)—have been gaining more traction in recent years. That CSA would consider creating a group for its own production digital print users should come as no surprise, particularly with Francis McMahon on board. McMahon, Vice President of Marketing for CSA’s Production Print Solutions division, played an integral role in getting Dscoop off the ground many years ago when he was the Director of Marketing for HP’s Graphic Solutions Business. In addition, CSA’s hiring of Dscoop Executive Director Eric Hawkinson in 2013 should have tipped us all off; it makes sense that Canon would use Hawkinson’s skills to start an initiative like this.
CSA’s Eric Hawkinson with Customer Panel
Exactly what form (or what name) the user group will take has yet to be determined. Read more »
This is the fourth year that I’ve done a video blog review of all the corporate greeting cards I received during the holiday season. This year’s collection includes InfoTrends’ own corporate greeting card, which was printed this year at the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Massachusetts.
If you have an interesting greeting card you’d like to send me, my address is Jim Hamilton, 97 Libbey Industrial Parkway, Suite 300, Weymouth, Massachusetts 02189, USA
If you’d like to see the previous videos, here are the links:
Big news from the EFI Connect show in Las Vegas: EFI and Landa have formed a strategic relationship to use Fiery technology as Digital Front-End/RIP for Landa’s digital presses; both for the continuous feed and cut-sheet devices. From the moment Landa showed its new presses for the first time at drupa 2012, there has always been much speculation about who Landa would choose as a DFE partner and what RIP technology would be suitable enough to drive digital presses that can run 12,000 B1 sheets per hour at 1200 DPI.
Guy Gecht and Benny Landa - who paid an unexpected visit - announcing a strategic partnership at EFI Connect 2014
I could have very well titled this “Industry Consolidation and the Ripple Effects” given the nature of the chess match being played out between two industry titans. Canon in one corner, looking to regain momentum (Canon’s loss of market share has been well documented with acquisitions of IKON Office Solutions to Ricoh – $1.62 billion, Global Imaging Solutions to Xerox – $1.5 billion and Danka to Konica Minolta – $240 million, couple this with the mixed result of their CBS Direct Operations the impact is measurable and the desire to win it back is understandable) and in the other corner, Konica Minolta, the current King of the independent dealer community. Ask an independent dealer owner about what they like about partnering with Konica Minolta and why they have made such a surge in revenue and units, and the first answer is Rick Taylor and his leadership, what follows next from their mouths varies but it is typically like an evangelist giving testimony at a revival.
For those that do not know, Dex Imaging is one of the largest independent dealers in the United States with annual revenues approaching $150M (it’s probably safe to say will have superseded that mark by the close of 2013). Their plan is to reach $250 million in annual revenue by 2016 and they have 26 locations in Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, Alabama and Mississippi. They made two acquisitions in the Florida market, both announced in May of this year. In the May press release announcing the acquisitions, Dex Imaging called itself the single largest- and fastest-growing independent dealer of Konica Minolta and Kyocera document imaging equipment in the U.S.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. today announced that it has acquired CopySource Inc., a business solutions dealership headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla., to increase Konica Minolta’s reach in the southeast Florida.
In addition to today’s announcement, Florida has been a hotbed of acquisitions in the past 24 months from OEMs, Independent Dealers and IT firms all positioning for growth.
InfoTrends Channel Strategy Service Data
State of Florida Acquisitions - Click to Enlarge Image
Revenue diversification and revenue growth as a corporate strategy to increase sales from new products and new markets is nothing new. Expanding into a new segment of an industry that a business is already in, or investing in a promising business outside of the scope of the existing business are solid avenues to diversification. What is so unique about Toshiba America Business Solutions is how they get there; with technology creation, innovation and a true brand agnostic approach. Need proof they are serious? 25% of their core MFP product page is HP & Lexmark and almost their entire printer product page is NOT THEIR PRODUCT. This is not the bait and switch of a Global Imaging Systems, where you are assured that yes, you will be able to continue carrying multiple product lines, only to make the non-Xerox line noncompetitive with high internal transfer costs making it difficult if not impossible to recommend products that compete with the core Xerox line. No, this group at Toshiba is different and the independent dealer channel should take notice.
Toshiba LEAD for the second consecutive year struck home a message of “Revenue Beyond Print”. Digital Signage and the Ellumina Digital Signage services along with Virtuoso digital signage displays, and LED signage for outdoor usage was eloquently showcased and created a very positive buzz among the independent dealers, Toshiba direct employees and end user attendees. Highlighted throughout the technology floor and general sessions were applications and content vs. hardware which made it easy for dealers and end users to envision the digital signage market opening as well as key vertical market opportunities were demonstrated.
Toshiba Digital Signage in Tesla Dadeland Showroom - Miami, Florida
With over 1,200 attendees and representation from 597 Ricoh dealerships, Convergence 2013 was Ricoh’s largest dealer event of all time. The executive team was very accessible and honest in their self-evaluation of where they have been, mistakes made along the way and creating specific plans for addressing the issues and growing the company.