The Real Lesson From Adobe
IS ANYONE else tired of reading about Adobe? You know exactly what I’m talking about (and if you don’t, Rip Van Winkle, just check your in-box for the past month). Everyone’s weighing in on the Adobe/FedEx Kinko’s deal these days, and I swore I wouldn’t add to the deluge, but now here I go.
Really, all I want to say is this: A “Print at FedEx Kinko’s” button, by itself, is not going to kill your in-plant—unless you help the process by doing a terrible job marketing it (and a worse job producing work). Let’s face it, if your customers are pleased with your in-plant’s service, no button on their PDF is going to lure them away (especially if your own online ordering system makes it just as easy for them to send you work). Conversely, if they’ve never heard of your in-plant (or got lousy service last time), they can bring their job to Kinko’s or Sir Speedy right now, even without a button to tempt them.
So why does it really matter if Adobe wants to make a little money from product placement? Well, for one thing, there’s the principle of it. Who wants the embarrassment of seeing the dreaded “K” name on every PDF you open? There’s also the chance that new employees might see the Kinko’s button and assume it’s O.K. to send their printing there. But as for your steady customers, if you already provide excellent service and are marketing your in-plant, you probably wouldn’t have lost much work. Just the same, I’m glad Adobe agreed to remove the Kinko’s button. Fist shaking and petitions can still bring results.
In-plants aren’t in the clear yet, though, argues Ray Chambers in his article on page 60. The future could bring more difficulties if in-plants don’t get a louder voice in Adobe’s planning process. After all, he says, Adobe is still pushing Web-to-print functionality, which means it will probably add links to many other external service providers in time. Not only does this up the competition, but such links may lure novices to circumvent their organizations’ printing policies, he says, unless organizations are given the power to turn off this feature. (Actually, they already can, using instructions on Adobe’s site, though it is probably not practical for large organizations to check every computer.)