May 1, 2006—Association of Graphic Communications (AGC) hosted “Graphics Advantage” at the Xerox Knowledge Sharing Center in Woodbury, N.Y., April 20. The event combined several education sessions along with a panel discussion.
Four seminars focused on such topics as binding and finishing options printers and designers may not be aware of; new features in QuarkXPress 7; and improving direct mail responses. Attendees were split into two groups, and were able to sit in on two of the sessions, each lasting an hour. After a light dinner, participants were invited to partake in a panel discussion.
The panel was comprised of printers in the local area who have added digital services of some kind to their product mix. The conversation focused not on what technology the panelists were using, but instead on how they have used digital to grow their businesses, and what challenges they have faced.
One major concern voiced by both panelists and audience members was how to educate clients and staff on the use and sale of digital projects. They noted that finding and training the right people can be the hardest part of adding digital services to a shop’s mix, as it often requires someone with a different skill set and way of thinking. In addition, teaching clients what is and is not possible, and convincing them it is worth paying a premium price for, can be an uphill battle.
Another major topic covered in the session was how to market digital services, and how much time and effort should be spent on this. Panelists all agreed that creating a marketing plan up front is the best way to approach it. Plan out who you want to reach, how you want to reach them, and how often you need to get in front of them to be effective, then stick to it.
The night ended on a bittersweet note, as the panel and audience agreed that digital is the new face of the print industry. However, many printers in the local area admitted that they do not have the time or the interest to learn about it, as evidenced by light attendance at this informative event.