A provocative POV + deliberately “bad” comment by Andreas Weber, Spokesperson Digital Print Forum, Mainz, Founder and CEIO of Value Communication AG
The ultimate Manager motto seems to be:
“It combines something that does not work with something that is not true.”
About the Status quo
Two very interesting weeks are behind us: Interpack 2014 in Düsseldorf, Online Print Symposium 2014, FESPA Digital in Munich and especially the Swiss Publishing Days in Winterthur covering Inkjet Printing.
So impressive is the diversity of the information provided, so sobering is the realization that the greatest evil are those who act quite selfish as market leaders and industry innovators — loving themselves and ignore the reality influenced by a bad behavior!
My critic: Highly paid managers from the digital printing equipment manufacturers industry are not able to bring their message across (with a few exceptions, dear François Martin). Their expertise and industry knowledge is lousy. Their presentation skills are atrocious. Zero empathy, zero emotion, but a lot of HYBRIS (megalomania). They come to such events as gladiators appear confident, spread nonsense. And are again disappeared from the respective event without understanding what is in their market actually going on. Even employees, primarily from the sales team of the same manufacturer, are often more than embarrassed! Because this behavior reduces the success dramatically !
What’s going on?
After 20 years of so-called „innovation of the printing & publishing industries“, most only do what they can, but not what they should do. Digital printing continues to play in the professional print market only a marginal role (in terms of print output and sales volume). The main error or misunderstanding seems tp be: The new print technologies are set to compete with the classical methods. Instead of showing that print can be an important part of a modern digital communication culture hitting all needs.
Managers of digital printing technology manufacturers a quite resistant in their positions. Even those who made very big mistakes (such as to deny the importance of photo books as a growth market ten years ago) jump from company X to company Y covering new/higher top positions. And put their dismal work continued eagerly. They don’t care, if they fail or if their company is in trouble. And pull their customers down as well.
The same managers who are not able to communicate and to present properly, tilt the budget for PR and marketing communications. The result is that the once excellent professional communication in the print industry is degenerated and transformed into a stupid push of press releases with product and fair novelties distributed across all channels. To be honest: This kind of propaganda no one needs and brings no benefit. Magazine publishers know what I’m talking about!
And the „Added Value“ to this mess? Marketing departments are transformed to Market & Business Development Units that operate bloated clumsy sales promotion and their performance is to gather customer examples and present it on expensive VIP events.
Stop this madness!
Most customers of these manufacturers, the printing companies, tolerate this harmful dilettantism. Everything is purchased, which is considered to be new and promising. It’s called something like the Lemmings syndrome. [Means: You cannot fail if you do what everybody is doing!]
Seemingly overlooked is what’s happening or not happening, and thereby damages the industry sustainable. The once proud printers are ridiculed by whippersnappers from the digital sector as a loser. This is scandalous, but self-inflicted.
And to say the least, this is madness. And must be stopped immediately if the damage should not be even larger. After all, we talk about that in the wake of technology manufacturers take hundreds of thousands of printing establishments damage. Billions in losses in the last six years, at the global level in strong double-digit height, are the result, as well as job losses and bankruptcies. This shift only to structural changes and market changes is self-deception. Innovative technologies and fantastic market opportunities are available. But the market and communication skills are underdeveloped; as well as the boldness of innovation, with the aim to sustainably change the print world and refocus it.
Conclusion: The fish rots from the head. Scramble dilettante, narcissistic top managers to the devil. Return to the roots, that have made print so strong for centuries: pioneering and innovative spirit, competence, determination and recoverability. The “good old” Johannes Gutenberg would be pleased. And last but not least: Create and communicate finally clear messages, visions and solid performance promises to provide that print as a business will be further damaged!
Best regards from the Gutenberg Mainz!
Painting by Ying Lin-Sill: “In Memoriam Gutenberg”, Mainz 2009
Text by Andreas Weber, Mainz 2014