How Is “Growth” in Variable Data Defined?
By Heidi Tolliver-Walker on October 5th, 2012
For years, 1:1 printing (variable-data printing) has been positioned as a way for printers to increase their print volumes and earn more money. There are undoubtedly printers who have done just that. Then there are the others who have worked diligently to build their VDP business and it just hasn’t paid off.
If something is a growth market, shouldn’t it be easier than this?
I’ve been standing back and watching this marketplace since its inception. Here’s something we don’t hear talked about very much.
- The growth of 1:1 printing / VDP is due to factors largely independent of the service provider itself.
- The transition from analog to static digital to VDP is happening because it makes sense for certain applications whether individual MSPs can sell these applications or not.
Thus all contradictory trends in the marketplace actually make perfect sense. VDP is growing because certain customers need it, but not every MSP is going to be able to take advantage of that. Even if they can’t, or don’t find VDP profitable, that’s a competitive issue. It’s not a VDP market issue.
Those needing VDP will either find print suppliers who can do 1:1 printing or print suppliers who can make VDP profitable will find, woo, and win the business of those who need it. Either way, it’s not a matter of growing the pie. The portion of the pie available for VDP is staying about the same size. The question is how that pie gets divided up. The better you are at selling VDP, the more of the pie you get.
But again, this is a competitive issue, not a market size issue.