Written by:
Howard Fenton
Senior Technology Consultant
NAPL

As you read this, we are mailing our latest digital services survey. This is our second research project and fourth published white paper on digital services. For this study, we took a deeper dive to try to identify common denominators that leaders possess.

In addition to quantifiable data, we also followed up with phone calls. Some of the more interesting responses came from the question “Based on your experiences with digital services, what advice would you give someone just getting in?”

Here are some of the responses:

  • “Being a digital printer is easy. But making money in digital is very difficult unless you have a complete shop and specialize in many products. Prices are too competitive, if you just print, cut, and fold.”
  • “Be ready to handle $100 jobs. Develop a workflow that can handle $100 jobs.”
  • “Hire someone who knows what they are doing. The training you get when you buy a press is not enough. You can get into real trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing.”
  • “You can do a lot of VDP work with low-end technology. Break into the market by investing in the necessary software and use laser printers to produce variable pieces. Once you gain confidence manipulating the data for these projects, then you can grow your capabilities as your customer needs grow or you target a market you want to enter.”
  • “Create a system for reporting. Reporting an email response activity leads to new information for the next campaign. You need to be analyzing the results with your clients, not just handing it back to them.”
  • “The success of the campaign is dependent on two things. First, your ability to mine appropriate information in advance. Second, that the acquisition of the information will not be offensive to the recipient.”

These statements are consistent with our conclusions, which include:

  • digital leaders hire more often, for the skills they need;
  • leaders automate their workflows, where it makes sense;
  • digital leaders plan a step-by-step approach resulting in a well differentiated value proposition.

Have you changed your hiring, workflows and planning process to join the digital leaders?

Howard Fenton is a Senior Technology Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research. He is a paid contributor to this blog.