Confronting the mayhem in Media and Marketing

Pivoting Your Company

An article titled U.S. Paper Industry Gets an Unexpected Boost in the Wall Street Journal last week largely told the recent history of Mohawk Fine Papers, Inc. The company originally supplied standard papers for document printing, a segment greatly impacted from digital technologies and distribution. Recognizing this downward trend, Mohawk’s president, Thomas D. O’Connor Jr., struck out on a path to pivot the over 80-year-old company. The gamble to provide high-end stationery to the growing digital printing industry that was offering personalized print products from photo books to greeting cards.

Mohawk represents just one sliver of the entire graphic communications market, however, there are lessons from their transition for everyone to heed.

  • Recognize you have a need to change. Mohawk, like so many other companies, first saw this in their revenues and dwindling market opportunity.
  • Identify growth areas and opportunities for expansion without abandoning your core aptitudes. Mohawk is still a paper company albeit one focused on the higher end of the market.
  • Start simple and scale quickly after the model is proven. Mohawk bought a $6 million dollar machine to position itself for the high-end segment a full 8 years before the plan was proven. When the model worked, Mohawk borrowed millions more to acquire businesses and additional assets.
  • Never stop betting testing. Mohawk bought a photography software company in 2008 to better understand the market and their customer base.

Read the full article here.

photo: Jinx!

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The Lofty Opportunity of the Printer’s Cloud

Have you heard any of these cited as advantages for using software in the cloud?

  • Reduced on-site IT costs
  • Lower startup costs
  • Faster implementation times
  • No requirement to update multiple servers and workstations
  • State of the art security for your data

While the mileage will vary according to your specific circumstances, any of these could be a benefit of working from the cloud. The single greatest advantage, however, has yet to be realized — instant integration. Imagine the benefit of being able to instantly integrate your CRM with your MIS, your MIS with your prepress workflow or favorite accounting package, your eCommerce solution with your MIS, and so on. Today these integrations are painful and take weeks, if not months, to complete usually through a back-and-forth of specialists from multiple vendors working together.

Enterprise software suites, such as Salesforce, are already in the cloud and offer the ability to add other best-in-class software components easily through its AppExchange. Rajiv Kapoor over at the Marketo blog states that even independent software vendors in the enterprise space are working more closely together to offer seamless integration. The advantage for the enterprise customer, just as it is with the print service provider, is the ability to pick the best software solution for their needs in a mix-and-match method.

Can or will software vendors in the print community offer such turnkey integration after moving to the cloud or will the same integration challenges exist? One can only hope that what is happening with enterprise software provides a navigable template for our industry.

photo: nrkbeta

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Change the Color of the Printed Page

A Los Angeles based company called t+ink is showing off its t-touch technology in the January 2014 issue of Wired Magazine. The technology allowed readers to view the many color options of Motorola’s Moto X smartphone. Check out the video below to see it in action.

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video: Motorola

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