GraphExpo exposed some new opportunities for In Plant and commercial and hybrid operations. The print services provider of the moment is fast becoming the communications provider of the future. There are incredible opportunities.
New opportunities: More than one spot featured what I will call, “Talking Paper”. Ricoh featured this and DocuMobi (now loaded on my Android and I hate loading new apps). It is the image that is recognized instead of a barcode. A good idea if the readers become integrated I can just use one scan and my device figures out which source I need quickly. The interactivity of the quick video with documobi is a blast. Print with a smile. In fact, DocuMobi was using Direct Smile in the mix.
Next up was a great development. More than one press manufacturer had mixed roll paper feed into multiple option feeders. How I wish I had this six years ago when 75% of the paper I was using was one type. The inability to mix roll and cut sheet is frustrating for most shops. Kudos to the front end company that is making this possible. I did not delve deep enough to know which one it is.
Social interaction. Not social media. Social social. IPMA and Print Media Centr both had open booths. The playability at the PrinterVerse was oustanding. What a refreshing step away from the vendor hawk areas. Vendors take note. Provide a place where no sales people are allowed and people can just enjoy. One of my great friends in life is Emerson. No, they have nothing to do with printing or communications. They provide power systems. Every once in a while they provide a few days in a non typical convention town where only their engineers are communicating with customers. They mix education on trends and build great relationships. Kudos, GASC.
More fun? Ricoh gets the all out award for creative display. That town center was a blast. I wish I had four hours just to walk around. I sure hope you caught it on pictures so I can redo a virtual tour with easy drill down into the shop windows. Wow.
As Gomer would say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” Right in the middle of Konica Minolta is EngageIT. I love EasyPurl and Mindfire and InfusionSoft and Interlinkone and Xmpie, and, and… anyone who mixes up the channels in easier ways for printers. This product looks to be a game changer. Written by a gaming ad agency, it has simple abilities to make it happen based on realistice patterns of interactivity. And you don’t need rocket scientists in your shop to make it work.
In Plant education was a phenom. Much thanks to GraphExpo for courting this audience that makes up a bigger and bigger portion of the industry. Sorry commercial guys, if you don’t learn how to in plant, you are going to go away. More and more companies get it. The digital revolution brings ability for volume, quality, variability and impact in smaller and smaller and more affordable packages. The need for mass volumes and monster equipment is waning. Companies that have never thought about In Plant operations will start thinking. Those that have them have begun serving others. The education options were superb and dead on. The In Plant folks had fun, learned, and were exposed to new possibilities. I talked to many of them. They are ready to grow and take a bigger portion of the market.
That’s enough for today. Just a little reporting on the fun side.
The first step to change is a holy dissastisfaction with the present state.
Like that? Makes sense to me. Where are you going? What have you become?
Do you like the answer to both of those questions? So many times we settle for status quo because of what we have experienced and then work to keep adding to blanked existences and shop patterns and sales attempts that are working to a degree, but never seem to break through to the level of performance we would like. That is one heck of a long sentence. Mull on it for a minute.
We settle for status quo.
We get comfortable with prior experience.
We labor at the common and comfortable.
Eventually it is dull and boring and feels like a blank.
Our shops become patterned for problems.
We like the problems with which we are familiar. We know how to fix them.
Our sales are structured and predictable.
The circle remains unbroken.
Deep inside, we yearn for a new level of productivity. We want to grow.
We want to become more than we have become.
We want to go where we have never gone.
Remember T. S. Seisel? Of course you do. He is American and world history. As a young man his political cartoons graced many key magazines. His 15 years of ad work for Standard Oil helped build the company. Working with Frank Capra, he produced animated training films for soldiers of WWII. Still don’t remember him? That was the majority of his life.
Oh, the middle most S? Seuss. Dr. Seuss.
The first book was rejected 27 times. At the time he was a famous cartoonist. Rejected. What had become of him?
Then the Cat in the Hat project just seemed to expose a different man than any had ever met. Over the years, he had become and was becoming someone much different. Where he was going was an unknown until that book well into his career.
Every one of us has that potential in every part of what we do. So many organizations settle for mediocrity. The incredible potential bottled in their staff just sits and stews all the way to retirement. It gets so bad, companies begin giving away the mature workers because the organization has doomed them to zombism through saying, “No”, to creative becoming idea after powerful results changing idea. The source of great ingenuity and innovation that resides in the years of wisdom and experience is put aside for youthful energy who have yet to become much of anything. They will. Given time, we all do. Most likely they will become zombies like their predecessors.
Seisel broke mode. It was a persistent and purposeful pursuit inside of him that broke mold. He just refused to quit growing and becoming.
You have systems of work, opportunities for new product, and development of people ahead of you. What can you become? Where can you go?
Let’s find out together.
Everyone has a start. This tiny store in a small farm town changed the face of retail. New Media Marketing 3.0 is poised to upend the world of insurance.
The #HP 7600 is an all in one-der system that needs your view. Consider your growth needs and customization needs of customers.
#KonicaMinolta in software? The EngageIt package developed by a successful ad agency must be considered if you are a small to midsize inplant or commercial shop looking to do integrated cross media.
#RSA never quits improving. Look again if you have not in a while. A great platform from which you can build great lean
Continue reading “#graphexpo Surprises”
Ingenuity Takes Adaptation
Over decades of assisting companies in healthcare, insurance, non-profit and retail, there are three essential adaptations that always play. For improvement to stick, you need the right stickem. Stickem? Remember the old glue sticks as a kid? We called any type of glue out of a pot or a stick, stickem when I was a kid.
That’s right. Start by adapting staff.
Raise Up Others. It is so easy to let folks down. Find a way to raise them up. You will grow when others grow around you. You stand on their shoulders.
Replace Yourself. It is essential that find others to replace your skills and expertise. Probably one of the most frightening activities of your career will be replacing yourself. What if “they” don’t need you anymore after you replace yourself? There is always someone looking for a new leg up, a new improvement, a new approach. There is a promotion waiting for the right person who is free because of great management development of others.
Visiting with one shop ten years after working with them was enlightening. One of my early hires during reengineering had risen to become the shop manager. We were visiting at a national conference over a cup of coffee. He looked me in the eye and said, “We still use the PAL method.” Puzzled, I asked him what he meant by the “PAL” method. He explained that I had initialed every new memo and organizational tip and note with “PAL”. Those are my initials. He and others had learned concepts of operations and improvement through those notes and continued using them ten years later. They did not need me, they had learned me.
Reinforce Service. Get that team to engage a full service mentality. In Plants and In House operations have bad reputations for service. Do whatever you can to find a new service mentality. Never rest on service. Years of acculturation can kill service. You find yourself not hearing what you really need to hear.
The same old tired product line is unexciting to your organizational customers. They want pizzazz and look and feel and different sizes and approaches. Sure, there is a penchant to live within the norm at every organization. Trust me, the norm is boring. You need some spice in your product line.
A recent in-plant manager talked to me about finding right support product for banner stands. A year ago, there was no capability to do banners. Now, the largest customer was demanding access to the new product line and they wanted it in volume repetitively. Foresight to acquire equipment and train staff had turned into a “have to” product line.
Find collateral services that accent what you already do so well. Can you add multi-channel support of email and landing pages to your direct mail? Can you add direct mail with variable impact to your brochure printing? Can you add online ordering and fulfillment on-demand to static box shipments of marketing collateral? What can you add that makes sense?
Customization is a must. Everything you do needs variable integration and segmentation design and capability.
Challengers in other departments, companies, other thought leaders, the market, all these need to be attended and addressed. Expect them and respond with wisdom and research and cooperation. Some of your biggest supporters will get mad when you launch a new product that helps another supporter. People just like to be in control and keep it all compartmentalized. That is, until they need something new that you don’t supply. You have to lead and laugh and remember they will come demanding more after getting upset that you grew.
Adapt Marketing Speak
Adapt your language and approach to each different audience. It is amazing how many sets of ears exist in our limited universe. Each has words they love to hear and ways they love to see information. Become an expert at telling the same story in multiple ways.
C Suite listens to different actions and words than your staff. These are results oriented, cost reducing, compliance happy, and culture protecting individuals. Speak the language. Make the emotional and logical connections with them. Help them see. They have seconds to assess new information, not hours. Be brief and positive.
When working with a client to add a product line, we had a C suite luncheon. Using new techniques of landing page survey, we acquired food and drink preferences. At the luncheon all the food and drink was ready and organized by name. C’s came into the room expecting a normal corporate cattle line. They received custom service. As the client presented the new information ears and eyes were open and ready for new input. The client took orders for that product line continually over the next year out of that one low cost personalization that touched the C suite ego. One top executive mentioned that luncheon a year later. To him, it was the most professional he had been treated in 30 years of leading his corporation.
Your customers don’t care what you do for others. They just want to know what you do for them personally. Find that one product line or service that is most meaningful to them and make notes. Find a way to make it appear easier at the right time on the right day. Find ways to customize and improve it.
Working with one client, we modified a “book of forms”. They were shipping these to each new customer. Through some simple cooperation with the IT web folks, we created a custom variable post card mailer using mainframe data feed. Everyone struggled with the concept. The forms went to online download. The cost went down over $120,000 a year. We kept the customer for the client. Other business that came into the shop from that customer more than made up for the $60,000 a year in print that went away.
Influencers are looking for ways to grow their contribution. Show them how you can help them do that. Help them move up in the eyes of their clients and customers. Find out the influencers in your organization and find ways to advance their cause. It is amazing how you can help someone in administration by simplifying business card ordering processes.
Whew! There you are. Here are three essential areas to adapt. Staff, Marketing, and Product all need adapting to move forward. Of course, there are more areas. But without these, the others are meaningless. Love your customers enough to talk to them in their language. Love your products enough to do them with excellence and continuing improvement. Love your staff enough to build them into a better body of service.