Written by Joel Basa, e-Marketing Manager at Xerox Corporation

Welcome to our live blog from  the Gil Hatch Center for customer innovation. We’ll share the story of three customers Associates International, QuadGraphics and LitheExcel.

[11:00] – Running a little late here. The customer panel discussion will start in I’m guessing 20 minutes. I’ll keep everyone posted.

[11:20] – Not started here yet….sorry for the delay.

[11:30] – Waleed Ashoo (CEO, LitheExcel Communication), Eric Cosway (CMO, Quantum Digital) and Karen Keenan (Director of Marketing Associates International, Inc.) have taken the stage for our customer panel. Here we go!

[11:34] – Question to all panelists “What are the biggest change you’ve made with your company in today’s world?” Quantum’s response points out that 30% of their business is focused on IT and data. Associates responds by pointing out the challenges that their company worked through to combine their “digital” business with a conventional business and create a workflow that works. Again, a good percentage of their staff is IT based. A changing dynamic. LitheExcel points out that staffing needs have changed. They are looking at those with marketing backgrounds and specifically looking at individuals with vertical market experience.

[11:38] – Question to the panel: “Are there particular verticals that took to change much easier?” LitheExcel’s response: the gaming industry (casinos, etc) have taken to the changing dynamics of the print industry. Also, the healthcare industry (specifically managed health)

[11:46] – Interesting comment from our audience, “Is the average printer able to change its dynamics to become a specialist in data, personalization, etc? or is it too late?” Waleed responds by saying that the advantage an average printer has is that it can leapfrog to incorporate the new areas such as data, technology, analytics, etc.

[11:48] – Great conversation occurring here. Lots of comments about the importance of specializing in data to be successful in today’s business environment. Seems like many printers are realizing this need and are investing resources in this area.

[11:50] – Question to Waleed, “Do you believe to make a transition to a Marketing Service Provider that specialization is required (niche marketing)?” Waleed agrees that specialization is much better to be able to make the transition from traditional printer to a full service marketing shop. The business model is very different now.

[11:52] – Great comment about Workflow automation. Automation allows a printer to create efficiencies that can allow them to re-allocate resources to grow from traditional printing to full service providers.

[11:54] – Great comment, “Its not about the box. Its about helping our customers be more successful and provide a set of full services.”

[11:56] – All three customers are talking about moving away from a “Quoting” model. IT and Marketing is the true focus and to move away from the “printed page” approach.

[12:00] – “Are there offerings from Xerox that helped you be successful?” AI and LitheExcel responds: Process Manager, ProfitAccelerator, and BDCs have helped them be successful. Quantum adds the color consistency of the iGen4 has allowed us to be successful.

[12:02] – Wrapping up here with this great discussion. Wish I could of just streamed this content out as there was so much that hard to capture in this format. What I really took away from this was that traditional printers need to make a transition to a full service provider and much of this starts with moving away from the “printed page” model and moving towards services that focus on data (IT) and marketing.

[12:04] – Thanks to Waleed, Eric and Karen for helping lead this great discussion!