Remedy Ailing Profits
With suppliers and distributors increasingly taking on functions once exclusive of each other, are the terms used to describe their roles still accurate? As a company acquires production capabilities, is there a point at which it ceases to be an independent distributorship? What about manufacturers with direct selling divisions? These are hotly debated issues, and will remain so as the industry evolves.
While the language describing emerging business models may be undecided, there’s strong agreement across the independent supply channel concerning the harsh realities of maintaining profitability. Add to this the fact that unique new challenges keep emerging, driven by technology and multimedia marketing trends. George Ryan, president of the Printing Association of Florida, Orlando, Fla., and Paul V. Reilly, a partner at Denver-based Compass Capital Partners and former CEO with Cenveo for 13 years, discussed some factors impacting the marketplace and their effect on serving needs for printed business products.
Effective Pain Relievers
End-users are dealing with multiple-marketing platforms where print is only one facet, observed Ryan, and they need to understand how everything relates in getting to market. Entrenched in what they’ve done in the past, many are reaching out for assistance when encountering difficulties with new areas, particularly direct mail and technology-enabled initiatives. “Customers are gravitating to those who have expertise in these areas,” he said. “If a sales person came in to my office right now, he or she better understand what I’m selling, how I’m getting to market, what I use print for and how that print helps me increase penetration and exposure.”
To find out what is keeping customers awake at night, Ryan suggested attending some meetings of business organizations they belong to. “Listening to discussions and doing a little research can help you get in the door,” he said. Ryan also recommended Frank Romano’s Marketing 4 Digital tool (available at www.gain.net). The Rochester Institute of Technology’s professor emeritus has done the homework on 24 market segments—including health-care, insurance and real estate—explaining particular issues impacting each one, as well as print applications and buying practices. Ryan noted that the materials go beyond digital printing to provide a sound strategy for selling into the markets.