How Does This Printer Get Hundreds of Jobs a Day With W2P?
I recently interviewed a commercial printer with over 70 active online portals servicing tens of thousands of end users, delivering hundreds of jobs per day, and driving 65% of its digital business. Brian Losch, VP of sales, shared some of what they learned along the way.
Worth Higgins & Associates is the largest sheetfed commercial printer in Virginia. The company has 170 employees across seven divisions — ranging from traditional offset, to digital, to wide-format, to cross-media marketing — but the company primarily makes its money through print. So, while they do charge for developing client portals, the main reasons they build them are to lock in accounts and to drive print order volumes. In fact, they initially wanted to simply make it easier for its customers to place traditional offset print orders.
The need for online ordering went from nice to necessary when Worth Higgins & Associates began to seriously enter the digital printing world in 2008. The company wanted to reach marketers rather than procurement and needed to make it easy for these clients to ensure brand integrity with streamlined approval processing. The company wanted a competitive differentiator. And, with the large number of small orders, it needed to streamline its order handling process.
The company's solution was to integrate MarcomCentral with its clients’ ordering systems and to link it to its own EFI Pace Print MIS system. They then integrated MarcomCentral with HP SmartStream to streamline their digital production printing to their Indigos. The end result is that they can now aggressively price and deliver a majority of their jobs within 48 hours.
Worth Higgins & Associates' path to success was not without its hurdles, though. Like most companies, Worth Higgins began by using a build-it-and-they-will-come approach when developing sites for its clients. Few of these sites ever really took off and, since they also didn’t charge for developing them, few were heavily used and most were money losing ventures.
Today they take a different approach where they typically charge for developing storefronts and always share financials and the scope of work. But they do sometimes waive fees if order volumes exceed certain volumes within specified timeframes. The reasons this works are:
- It assigns a specific value to the storefront.
- It motivates clients by creating some investment risk.
- It recovers at least some of the development cost.
But remember, Worth Higgins’ goal is to drive print. Storefront development pricing is set at levels to motivate its clients to internally push utilization (meaning order more print jobs through it) in order to get ROI. It’s a model where both the printer and the client win.
Worth Higgins' other differentiator is its developer staff. They have a dedicated team of people who can quickly mock up or completely design and build storefront portals. This is important because, while everyone understands online ordering and it is easy to explain customization, having a client customize and order their own brochure on a site with their branding somehow makes it real and often creates an “ah-ha” moment. Doing this not only helps convince a client, it helps an internal champion educate and persuade other decision makers of the benefits.
I encourage you to download and read the free, eight-page PODi case study, which contains more details and examples.
Greg Cholmondeley is president of Cholmonco Inc. Cholmonco is a technology marketing consulting company that researches, analyzes and documents best practices and innovative solutions. Cholmondeley is especially interested in how industry leaders efficiently get work through digital printing and marketing services operations. He has also written two fictional novels. The first is titled “Nakiwulo and the Circle of Shiva” and the second is called “Princess.” You can learn more about his consulting practice and read more of his blogs at www.cholmonco.com. You can discover his books at http://books.cholmonco.com.