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Innovation by modern technology is important.

But: Success needs a new Eco System approach

For centuries, the printing industry has been one of the most innovative and investment-intensive industries ever. The principle, to be always in front with technological innovation has been extremely profitable. The great upheaval began more than a generation ago, as implemented in the late 1980s through desktop publishing (DTP), the motto: “Everybody his own Gutenberg!“. Exclusive expertise of the printing industry almost overnight became accessible to everyone using publishing software. Despite the still strong pace of innovation and many (new) excellent technology suppliers, the printing industry has lost ground.

The main reasons / effects:

  1. Furiously accelerated structural change was brought about by the personal computing and PostScript era which had an unexpected and violent impact. The printing industry (like many technology suppliers too), completely underestimated the associated changes. DTP brought the harbinger of the Internet, Web 2.0 and social media developments that spawned an explosion of new business ideas. First of all, Apple and Adobe, and later Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Ebay and hundreds of others. Tops and flops go hand in hand.
  2. The printing industry influenced many factors, but did not respond adequately, which put its meaning into doubt. Mainly due to the upheaval in the media that rocked the publishing world and put their sustainable business models into question. To create media products, including newspapers, magazines or books for publishers, but with only a portion of the printing business. Neither small nor insignificant, but in the sum is not of vital importance for printers that can use their investments (in machinery) for commercial printing, packaging, mailers, labels, posters and with much more merit. Especially as the lucrative production of the traditional publishing products mentioned is reserved for the few, because of strong competition with low margin.
  3. The changes in the media brought changes in media habits with them. A chain reaction was set in motion: the digitization of communication and transaction capabilities brought many players on the scene that had their roots in the field of photography, computing, communications and office copying techniques. These occurred early and mid-1990s with the promise to complement conventional printing technologies, not just to replace the old world.
    The slogan on the assumption was: “Offset printing is out of date!“. In the printing market, offers the greatest potential for digital printing, so that the industry comes out of trouble again. But the printers quarrelled with the digital printing technology, because the quality and the cost structure were not right (or good enough). The initial scepticism in the printing sector, followed by fear, and resentment fuelled by the market power of the player. Which in turn created new types of services and newcomers on the scene. The thought of making purely digital printing techniques, which fit better into the Internet age, to the established printers to finish off. In addition, an increasing number of digital printing systems are increasingly used by customers of print shops.

Result

The printing technology development must, therefore, be considered sober and above all very differentiated — especially after drupa 2012. Although digital printing was the undisputed number one topic at drupa 2012. And Benny Landa added a new vision and mission to printing. His value proposition: Nanographic printing will solve the quality and cost problem digital for digital printing production. But still be more than 85 percent of the global printing products are manufactured using traditional printing techniques (especially in offset printing). Offset printing by digital techniques has also developed dynamically, including process optimization and productivity for print shops.

The Print Service Industry is not only suffering from the economic situation. Correspondingly high investments at drupa 2012 are both in digital printing as well (again) has flowed into offset printing techniques. Manufacturers and service providers are trying to find ways to rethink their strategy and adapt to the market situation. The focus is on hybrid production offerings to synchronize in a much better way with the current market demands.

Recommendation

Modern, future oriented printers establish benefits from comprehensive technology solutions partners who offer and install not just printing technology, but provide added value through expertise, foresight, continuity, and services. Both partners have to build up and share a common new Eco System to enable growth. That means: Today and tomorrow both parties have to become best-in-class-partners to hit the needs of brand owners and print buyers. Because those customers have to get access to a better business communication approach. At least it’s not about printing, it’s about finding and handling the best communication mix.

Source:
Value Trend Radar, Issue 1, July 2012

Publisher and copyright 2012:
Andreas Weber, Mainz/Germany
Twitter: @zeitenwende007

Get in touch for more insights about the new Eco System for hybrid production offerings

 

Text by Andreas Weber, CEO of Value Communication AG, Mainz
Germany’s leading Business Communications Analyst and Innovation Expert
Illustration by Lidia Lukianova, SF Bay Area

Contact: Twitter @zeitenwende007
Actually, everything could be quite simple: Our modern technology Eldorado makes everything better, faster, more effective. That is the theory. However, the adaptation rate for innovative solutions in the market will tend to take off. Its because of the high pace of technology development that we tend to have lost our orientation. In the least, we are overwhelmed by news and details. It is time to re-think what we should do in the future!
1. Mainstream is not more mainstream
Decision-makers need luck to track down relevant information for their own purposes. “Why’s that? We communicate so well and are more active as never before! ” — Well, who uses Twitter extensively, for example, has so far not gained an overview about what is really important or mainstream. The German Social media expert Benedikt Koehler stated: “The news and information streams, which we read on Twitter, Facebook or Flipboard, makes the social mainstream invisible. We lose a sense of where the mainstream cultural currents flowing straight and which it has already incorporated. Are we radical? Are we ahead or middle? The timeline is silent on these issues.”
This phenomenon applies not only to social, political and cultural developments, but also to our professional status and responsibilities in marketing and business communication.
2. Traditional services stumble
Hardly any agency, marketing or communications professional is satisfied with the promise of its technology innovation or production service providers. Even a good pitch does not solve the problem that you may know, and certainly not what you do not know. It only follows what appears to be currently plausible. Drawback: Tops could convert too quickly into flops. See AOL, Second Life, MySpace and more recently Facebook. Modern marketing and communication services quickly stumble on the rapidly changing realities. For example, billions were invested worldwide a few years ago in Flash programming. But Flash is mega-out … Does this relate to the sustainability paradigm?
3. Smart and bold concepts are in short supply
The value of innovation is measured in the practice of what can be optimized as to the status quo. BUT: If something is optimized, it is indeed optimal. Optimal improvement does not automatically means to find the best way. It lacks a radical concept, smart and bold approaches to the ‘tabula rasa’ principle (a situation in which there are no fixed ideas about how something should develop). Get rid off the old customs. New thinking is only created by other types of forms of creativity and consistent decisions for relevant technology solutions.
4. Just do not consider: A blast from the past!
The role has reverse effect: a traditional printing company in southern Germany, which already had become a cross-media service provider, felt overwhelmed and re-positioned itself to become print specialists again. Credo: We know best how to make quality prints. A few months later, the print shop was broke and filed for bankruptcy. Note: Technology innovation is irreversible. The wheel can not be turned back.
5. Expectations cannot meet you, you have to wake them up! 
Steve Jobs hated the focus group approach. And he was right. How can you ask someone about something, he does not know or he cannot imagine? Why do we not start again, talking to interesting people about interesting topics — instead of always pandering to as many channels, what we can do just great and supposedly deliver? “Liquid service” is the magic word, driven by creative discourses that can awaken and meet the expectations!
6. Do we need new business models?
No! We need primarily a new business behaviour that makes it possible to confidently and creatively deal with technological innovations. We need new forms of cooperation between technology developers, brand owners and communication service providers (who create and produce media content). That means we need a new and efficient Eco-system for marketing and communications innovation that makes the value of technology innovations measurable (in a practical way).
7. Technology innovation to create value
Marketing alone cannot innovate a business. But technology innovated marketing — fundamentally can! The aims are to bring communication and transaction immediately together! Technology, by the way, describes the best approach to improve innovation through the skill to deal properly with knowledge.
And what is the added value?
Innovations allow the marketing community to convert prospects and customers into loyal fans — driven by relevant communication solutions.
Note
For other relevant tips and ideas for innovative solutions, contact Andreas Weber.
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