After three days at Graph Expo, attending press conferences, seminars, and lunch and learns for the show daily, I am heading home, but a mechanical issue on the plane has left us sitting on the tarmac for an undetermined amount of time. As I sit, I am playing with the question, if I were to pick one point out of those three days to say that was most interesting to me, what would it be?
I think it is this — the theme of many of presentations and panel discussions was to move away from feeds and speeds, to focus not the technology but on the human element. What does all this technology actually do for people?
In the “Deciphering Digital” seminar, designed to help printers ask the right questions before purchasing a digital press, Ed Wong, director of production product management for Ricoh, gave voice to this theme when he told the audience, “Don’t get lost in the weeds of specs. Service and support separate suppliers. Your partner should offer ways to help drive additional print volume. Hopefully, they are coming in on a regular basis, saying, ‘Have you thought about this type of print? Or, “Have you thought about these applications?’”
Konica Minolta’s Erik Holdo, vice president of KM’s production print line of business, BIS, agreed. “We all put marks on paper really well. I can point to great service departments at every one of my competitors’ domains. We’re all telling you we have great service, the best product, and the best image. It’s about applications. It’s what you surround that equipment with.”
Holdo then told a story about a study he conducted with a car dealership in 1996, back when he owned a service bureau. “We printed the piece in full-color, highlight color, and black-and-white, all with full variable images. We received a response rate of 28% on the black-and-white, 4% with the highlight color, and 28% on the full color. That’s when I learned that it’s not really how you are printing that piece. It’s how effective you are communication.”
From that perspective, I guess not all that much has changed in 18 years.