Written by Susan Weiss
Manager, Xerox Worldwide Customer Business Development
When people describe the appeal of paper they often talk about the textures and smells, and their passion for reading a newspaper over breakfast or curling up with a good book. During a recent webinar, Sean Todd, head of sales at Derby, U.K.-based Irongate Digital, a Xerox Premier Partner, had a more prosaic description. Specialty media have delivered new print applications that are responsible for 20 to 30 percent of his firm’s growth over the last few years.
The webinar, “Media Matters”, was the latest in the 2013 Xerox Business Development Webinar Series, led by Barb Pellow, group director, InfoTrends. Barb set the stage by describing a world of “e-everything” in which paper can cut through the clutter to reach marketing targets. And for print providers, specialty media can open new markets with unique solutions in photo specialty products, packaging and dimensional mailers, and a range of applications for durable synthetic materials.
Irongate served as her proof point. The company is so energized by specialty media that to stay current on the latest developments, they hold quarterly meetings with suppliers and brainstorm about possible applications.
One such brainstorm led them to conceptualize a personalized chocolate box as a value-added gift. A cold call to online florist, Interflora, earned them their first business, and its success led two of the United Kingdom’s leading chocolate suppliers, Thornton’s and Cadbury, to approach Irongate for similar solutions.
In each case, Irongate manages a Web-based customer order system that initiates an automated production process requiring a human touch only when it reaches the press operator. So production costs are low, but the value to Irongate clients is high. Consequently, profit margins are very good, ranging into high double-digit percentages.
“You can’t underestimate the effect this can have on customers,” Todd said. “You turn a simple piece of paper into a personalized box, and you engage with clients in a far more effective way really. What we do is integral to their product, so it does feel as if we are part of their team. And it opens up a market. Now people approach us to get these solutions.”
Irongate produces a range of other specialty-media applications, including many with synthetics, such as plastic business cards and labels and manuals for equipment used outdoors. To develop specialty-media applications, Todd said, “Think as a normal consumer. What would I like to buy to have a little extra value? Then look at retailers who might be interested, and approach them.”
As Pellow noted in wrapping up the session, “Your differentiator can be as simple as a sheet of paper.”
To hear a replay of the webinar, click here. And to sign up for the final 2013 Business Development Webinars, “Sustainability: It’s Good to Be Green” on Nov. 6, click here.
Do you have a media-driven success story to share? How much of your annual growth is achieved with media-driven applications?
Susan Weiss, manager, Xerox Worldwide Customer Business Development, is Xerox’s host for the 2013 Business Development Webinar Series.
Written by Susan Weiss