Stop Selling Ice Cubes to Eskimos

Printer sales are like selling pencils. While it used to be that everyone bought them, smart marketers realize that their prime customer set has become more focused.You enjoy dinner at a restaurant. The waiter brings you your check. You examine it and return it to him along with your credit card which has a mag stripe on it and an EMV chip embedded in it.

He takes it to his terminal, swipes or inserts it and confirms your payment. The entire payment transaction handled digitally.

Then he brings you a slip of paper to sign, and a copy for you to keep.

We’re Just Not There Yet… and We May Never Be

The concept of the “paperless office” has been discussed for well over three decades, and indeed there has been progress toward it. But many maintain that there are still many valid use cases for the printed page, and it is likely that there always will be.

There is an important message in this for channel partners who sell print, print services, print supplies, and printing devices. It’s a very fundamental message, yet it may be so simple that it goes unnoticed and unheeded.

Sell print to those who are buying it.

Who Is Buying Print?

It’s very likely that the answer, right now, is still almost everybody. Individual users still consider a printer part of a complete configuration for their office or home.

Corporations have long deployed higher-volume, longer duty-cycle networked printing devices departmentally or by workgroup and still do.

Any company that interacts regularly with the public, including retail, restaurant, hospitality, airlines, bus and rail travel, and similar organizations require printers to provide a transaction record to their customers. Similarly, service organizations such as auto repair, HVAC, and others print detailed receipts. Car rental agents have printers strapped to their hip.

Who is Consuming Print Most?

As our industry moves further along the path toward managed print services, it becomes even more important to think strategically about who consumes the most print. Just as cloud-computing services succeed or fail based upon consumption, the physical model for that rests with print.

The purchase of any printing device is probably the smallest sale you’ll make. Supplies such as ink, toner, and paper, maintenance of these largely mechanical devices, and management of sorting, collating, and binding functionalities drive the ongoing bulk of your revenue stream. Who uses these most?

Financial services companies including investments, insurance, and planning firms, must produce abstracts, analyses, and other reports that are most often shared with clients in print. Medical, pharma, and healthcare also create volumes of invoices, diagnoses, imaging, reports, and much more. Any organization that is subject to regulatory compliance requirements will also be printing substantial documentation.

Xerox Managed Print ServicesManaged Print Services (MPS) – MPS is about more than just printers. It’s everything related to printers, their output, supplies and support, the way you use documents, and the people and processes that intersect with each of these.

The exact industries and businesses that consume the most print in your markets will vary from geography to geography, but what is most important is that you begin to target more precisely. Stop wasting time on “general” print sales. Focus your energies, instead, on creating use cases and identifying applications that will best serve those industries in your markets that consume the most print.

Print is not “going away” anytime soon, no matter what some pundits may predict. Growth in the print business, especially in managed print services, starts with careful thinking, careful planning, and the development of a highly cogent strategic marketing plan.


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