New whitepapers available

Ricoh has commissioned Smithers Pira to create a series of whitepapers. These look at opporunities for Print Service Providers to open new worlds in a number of key market segments.

Whitepapers available now:

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Corporate Print: bringing the world in-house

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Digital commercial print: the new world order

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Direct Marketing: printing the personal

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Retail point-of-sale: the new frontier for consumer engagement

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – The new world of publishing with virtual stock

Reflections on drupa 2016

After 11 frenetic days of meeting with our customers, listening to their needs and challenges and showcasing how our range of products, solutions and services support our clients’ needs, I want to take a moment to reflect on our drupa 2016 adventure.

Our theme for this year’s drupa, ‘Open New Worlds’ was developed to focus on the opportunities and challenges that our customers see in their sphere. What we wanted to let our visitors know was that no matter their size, sector or ambitions we can help them build from their strengths, creating more opportunities for them to grow and evolve. Welcomed in our theatre, customers, press and industry analysts enjoyed hosted tours to experience this first hand.

On the product side, we presented the latest versions of our cut sheet printers including the Ricoh Pro™ C7100 series and the Ricoh Pro™ C9100 series. In the continuous feed sector we put the spotlight on our newly enhanced Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 high speed inkjet platform. Live demonstrations of these in the Commercial Print, Direct Marketing, Publishing and Corporate zones, and in our lean manufacturing Smart Factory, highlighted the innovative applications, quality output and the broad range of services our presses offer.

Many of our clients agreed and signed on stand deals. Among the sales we celebrated were a Pro C7100 for Cicero, and Nationwide Print who chose MarcomCentral to support production on its new Pro C7100. Cicero also ordered a Pro C9110 as did Magneet Communicatiecentrum, Ecograf, Datum, Deltor, Impremta and CFH Documail – to name but a few of our clients trusting our technology to support their growth.

We were also very excited to celebrate the sales of our Pro VC60000. EDC was our first customer in Eastern Europe, while Adare ordered two lines and CFI opted to add a second. This latest addition to our portfolio is gathering market momentum, as our clients learn and embrace how its combination of productivity and high quality can help them be more cost effective and profitable.

We had a very busy industrial print zone, where we showcased the powerful opportunities offered by additive manufacturing, industrial inkjet printheads, direct to shape coding and marking as well as branding product decoration.

To add to that, we announced our entry into the vibrant signage market, by adding EFI VUTEk flatbed printers to our portfolio. The decision builds on the success of our large format portfolio of print production solutions.

There was a lot of discussion surrounding the overall theme of drupa 2016. Connectivity was a topic that ran through the show like a red thread, for all solutions and in every sector.  Many of our visitors were looking for software and services that will enable them to connect and integrate different workflow streams and production environments.

In our Studio, many visitors discovered the capabilities of our TotalFlow portfolio including TotalFlow Cloud Suite, and learned how they could improve productivity, add value and open up new opportunities.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Finally, it’s important to remember that an event like drupa is only as good as the people who make it happen. It’s been a real pleasure for us all working with colleagues to make drupa such a powerful event. We couldn’t have made it the success it was without all the hard work that people put in. Ricoh really is a company that is driven by passion and dedication, and where imagine.change is not just a brand, but an expression of the talent and commitment of our team.

 

Direct Marketing zone at drupa

In this area, we will show why the rejuvenation of Direct Mail is such a great digital printing opportunity and why seamless integration across the full range of multichannel communications is so important.

Not to be missed

  • data analytics and data cleansing solutions
  • real time printing of a  dedicated mailer for the drupa show which includes personalised vouchers
  • Ricoh’s Direct Marketing Workflows in action
  • Examples of single pass full colour transactional applications

 Key Applications

These are just some of the samples we are planning to show. Look out for more surprises at the show itself !

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Workflow

Ricoh’s direct marketing and critical communications workflow solutions harness the power of direct marketing for a more profitable future.

Direct Marketing Workflow

 

Ricoh at drupa button

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insights from Ricoh’s first European Commercial Print Council

User groups … I’ve done a few in the last 30 years.

Big ones and small ones, graphic arts ones and other ones, national and international ones.

So I was pleased to organise Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Council.Which took place in the Ricoh offices in Staines on Thames (near Heathrow) UK, last month, when 15 clients gathered, representing eight companies from six countries.

2015-11-RCPC_Group Picture

Attendees of the first Ricoh Commercial Print Council Nov 2015

Not only was there close interaction with Ricoh on the technical product level, but there were also three external speakers, each with their own specific topics.

Ralf Schlözer from Infotrends, the analyst company, looked into his famous crystal ball to give insights into opportunities for digital print in the commercial print market.

Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer.

His conclusions were:

  • Printing is very much alive
  • Digital colour print remains on the growth path with inkjet leading the charge
  • But one should consider the whole print production chain; including the impact of the Cloud on software solutions
  • Media integration is progressing: prepare for an omni channel view rather than simply a cross channel view
  • Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer. Meaning that new businesses will emerge and they’ll use ‘print’ as a way to manufacture things (3D, textiles, etc…)
  • Number one priority for marketeers is increasing the customer experience, lowering costs is only second

Enrique Parilla from digital publishing company Lantia gave a privileged view on how he established his company as a publisher-printer-software developer, handling the publishing business in a completely different way from how traditional publishing companies do.

That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication!

He used the following interesting analogy: in 19th century America, companies selling ice for refrigeration were big business. But … they didn’t realise in which business they were in. They thought they were in the business of selling ice … when it was actually refrigeration they were selling.  So when the electrical refrigerator was invented, it wiped away the ice business. That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication! In trade book publishing for instance, publishers are not selling books but stories!

Next time you drink your G&T on the rocks, do ask yourself: ‘in which business you really are’?

Ulbe Jelluma works for Frysk, a B2B advertising agency, specialising in serving international clients (in the graphics, industrial, financial, pharmaceutical, telecom and automotive industries). He started with an attention grabbing statement: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder … And it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye!’

…agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix

Ulbe explained how agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix. He highlighted some new print applications all driven by the generation of emotions in using print. He also showed some examples of ‘different devices, same content’ or how the advertising industry is using an omnichannel approach to push its message.

Another example was of ‘existing content, different application’ with books that are printed in Brazil for the public transport authorities, serving as a ticket and a planner at the same time as being a reading book. Or what to think about a plasticised newspaper that can act as an umbrella, in a country such as Ecuador ‘where it rains a lot’?

All creative examples of how print is being used in many new and different ways.

So Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Customer Council featured a series of diverse speakers with a broad spectrum of experiences, insights and predictions to share. For me, though, there was a common thread.

It was the sheer resilience of print as many different players in different markets explore its unique characteristics to keep it as relevant now as ever.

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Content is king

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

When there is financial turbulence, it is often said that ‘cash is king’. Similarly, these days, when brands are challenged by fast changing consumer preferences the message from the marketing community has become ‘content is king’.

Over the last few years there has been a massive shift in marketing budgets into Content Marketing. So what is Content Marketing and why has it suddenly become king?

According to Forbes magazine:
You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it.

Relevant and valuable information in the form of infographics, videos, web content, podcasts, books and customer magazines are all examples of Content Marketing. Often concentrating on lifestyle issues with useful information on subjects such as recipes, holiday tips, and home improvement advice.

And it is on the rise because increasingly marketing-literate consumers are rejecting standard selling messages from brands. In order to get their attention and respect, switched on marketing departments are generating content that will engage on a more emotional level.

The Content Marketing Association reports that 70% of British marketers are using Content Marketing, highlighting the top three most effective uses as:

  • Long term customer engagement
  • Brand building
  • Customer acquisition.

Further, having grown as a share of brand communications budgets by a net 25% in each of the last two years, it now makes up 21% of this total budget in the UK.

For a Print Service Provider, the surge in Content Marketing from your clients can be viewed as both a threat and an opportunity. An apparent threat because, typically, brands that use CM spend less on print and direct mail than brands who don’t do any CM (source; Content Marketing Association). However, print is a medium that is particularly well suited to displaying and showing how to navigate around content. PSPs who understand the true value of print in this context can start to develop relationships with a new breed of marketing agency – the Content Marketing agency. They specialise in content and customer engagement and are increasingly playing a central role among brands’ roster of agencies. Now is a good time to identify and approach the leading agencies in your market.

A further opportunity is in the increasing investment in Marketing Resource Management systems to administer content and assets efficiently. Some marketing departments have invested in their own systems, but many others will prefer to outsource that responsibility. As the number of marketing communications assets these departments own expands, in the form of print collateral, web and mobile material, videos, merchandise, etc., they need a reliable partner who can create, manipulate, manage and distribute them as needed. Ricoh’s cloud based MarcomCentral solution manages and customises marketing material across entire organisations enabling PSPs to support their clients’ brand control and asset distribution with anytime, anywhere access.

Content Marketing has quietly captured a leading role in the minds and wallets of marketers across Europe. It is a phenomenon that shows no signs of abating as brands recognise that valuable content can be the key to customer engagement and loyalty. For the PSP who doesn’t want to get left behind, now is the time to understand how to take advantage of this situation. Both through positioning the unique properties of print; and having a marketing resource management system that can improve your clients’ marketing supply chain, now, when the content they have is probably growing at an unprecedented rate.

Why you should be fans of the Marketing Rockstars

M_Rockstars Hall

The Marketing Rockstars Festival in Graz, Austria this month was not the kind of event that would normally grab the attention of Europe’s Print Service Providers. After all, it was designed firmly for the marketing industry; attracting nearly 2000 marketers from brands and agencies, tempted by the mix of superstar marketing speakers from, for example, Google, Starbucks and Adidas, and the 100 exhibitors with their marketing-oriented offerings.

So why should PSPs show an interest in an event like this, where the marketing community gathered to learn and talk about current marketing issues? Well, Ricoh was a key partner of the Marketing Rockstars Festival and it was very clear why this, and similar, events, are so relevant to the professional printing industry. It is, put simply, because it is at this type of forum where marketers collect information and insights, gain inspiration and ideas. Including on crucial questions such as how do I make my campaigns more successful, which channels should I be selecting, how do I integrate different channels effectively? Where does print fit in? And who can support me?

It is the marketing departments, advised by their agencies, that decide the shape of the marketing activities you will often be fulfilling in part at least through print. So the impact on the production printer of decision-making gatherings like this is profound.

Serving the needs of the marketing community

Ricoh’s stand was a busy one, as visitors explored how data can be cleansed and analysed, the process of consumer profiling and segmentation, the benefits of our Precision Marketing consultancy service and how Clickable Paper can bridge the printed page and the online realm. All in the interests of helping them achieve impressive returns on their marketing investments.

The fact that people could walk away with a personalised front cover of what was only the second issue of Forbes business magazine in Austria, complete with their own face on it, drew many marketing professionals to us. They saw at first hand how our marketing asset management and variable data solutions – MarcomCentral and FusionPro – work, and they benefitted from our expertise in harnessing data to create powerful, omni channel campaigns, with printed direct mail at their heart.

Exploiting the richness of data was also a major theme of Thomas Haas’ presentation. Our Precision Marketing Principal explained how the intelligent use of data can transform the impact of marketing campaigns, and how Ricoh can provide the expertise and solutions to help marketers make this happen. With direct mail often the hero channel thanks to its unique properties.

We will keep talking

Benoit Chatelard,   Vice President Production Printing Business Group

Benoit Chatelard,
Vice President
Production Printing Business Group

Ricoh will continue its dialogue with influencers in what we sometimes call the direct marketing ecosystem. Particularly with brand owners’ marketing executives and their marketing agencies. Talking to them about integrating print into communications, about harnessing data for first class results and about the power of Clickable Paper interactive print technology. It’s about raising their awareness and understanding – building demand for the direct mail and direct marketing services that our progressive production printing clients can deliver and add value to.

Why you actually can start ‘small’ with ‘Big Data‘ to boost the success of mail

We have recently conducted a survey among British marketing agencies and marketing departments to find out more about the future of direct mail (or ‘advertising mail’, as it is often called in Great Britain). Together with the British DMA (Direct Marketing Association), we invited both marketing agencies and companies to share their view on this specific communication medium.

The results of this survey have been released as a report (called ‘Mail Matters’, published on March 25th by the British DMA) and those of you who are interested in the details are more than welcome to download the study using the following link:

http://www.dma.org.uk/uploads/Ricoh%20report%202015-240315_5512a5d8dcc40.pdf

The report was full of useful findings, e.g. that the majority of respondents still consider direct mail a trusted and effective medium (which it is) but a minority of respondents is concerned that direct mail may be considered as ‘junk mail’ (which it is only  if you don’t make it relevant for the recipient!). A conclusion was that the so-called ‘Digital Natives’ seem to have acquired relatively little knowhow about the production and use of direct mail, so that they concentrate on online marketing activities.

DMA research Five Segments of advertising mail

However, most of the respondents  can still be considered ‘loyal fans’ of direct mail although the research revealed that they are expecting more from the medium (and, in the case of agencies,  from their clients). One of the barriers for more successful direct mail obviously is the ‘lack of data and data analytics’. The data, however, is already there … but it can seem difficult to fully harness, so let’s have a closer look at the issue of analytics:

In recent months more and more focus has been put on how much value ‘analysing Big Data’ could bring. Despite the fact that ‘Big Data’ has become a marketing buzzword and that many decision makers are unsure of exactly what Big Data is, a whole industry has formed to help marketers to identify the best target groups and create customer profiles.

Starting with ‘Big Data analytics’ might at first sound like David’s fight against Goliath (also known as the data monster).  A marketer will learn that consumer data is stored among multiple databases and that the format and content of the databases heavily depends on the application (CRM, sales database etc).

In order to get a full, 360 degree view of your customers an immediate task is to consolidate the data from those different data sources (basically ‘copy’ all datasets into one big Excel  or .csv file). Once you have done that you will be confronted with the fact  that one and the same customer’s data occupies more than one database; in other words, you have found ‘duplicates’. A deduping exercise is therefore needed. In addition to that, important data fields like the gender (which determines the salutation) are not always filled, foreign names are not recognised  correctly  or the address is written with many different variations.

So a first small, but very important, step in data analytics is ‘data cleansing and data enrichment’. Don’t think that this must be a manual process. As long as you can transform the data from the different sources into one and the same format (e.g .csv-files) you can use appropriate tools. Such software comes with built-in intelligence (and algorithms) to understand which data belongs to one and the same customer. Most of them come as a SaaS (software as a service), run by European companies following the strictest EU data privacy laws (Ricoh is currently developing such a tool with an authorised RiDP = Ricoh Development Partner). Large corporations might prefer local installations and regular local updates and upgrades.

My recommendation is to take ‘data cleansing’ and ‘data enrichment’ seriously. Today’s tools can not only improve the quality of your general data but can also check whether email addresses are valid or if GSM mobile phone numbers are still in use. The cost of this first small step (data cleansing and data enrichment) is relatively modest.  More good news is that such state-of-the-art algorithms to clean your data can be built into all your existing (and future) web forms so that no bad data will find its way into your databases.

Once your general data quality has improved, you will be ready for true data analytics. Ricoh and alliance partner SAS can ‘calculate’ the likelihood of your customers buying further products or services (called predictive data analytics), so that you can concentrate your focus and improve the effectiveness of your actions.

So: mastering the (big) data monster should start with small steps, with ‘data cleansing and enrichment’ at the beginning of the list. After that, getting full customer insights using data analytical software should be second. Once you have created customer profiles and target groups, talk to us so that we can combine your data insights with our dynamic document composition tools to create the truly personalised pieces of customer communication which can make direct mail so successful.

This process actually is what we call ‘Precision Marketing’. Learn more about Ricoh’s Precision Marketing practice on YouTube and see e.g. how retailers can benefit from data-analytics and mail.

Your opportunities are endless! Let’s take the first steps together…