This year at PRINTING United the community around large format printing is expanding. Observing the evolving market, this looks to be the first of many expansions of attendees and exhibitors. The trend we see at HCS, is owners are looking for new revenue opportunities through vertical integration of fabrication, expanding into the ever-growing experiential environments space, or adding technical capabilities that allow customers broader access to services online.

PSP Trends

The path to purchase for many PSPs has changed based on audience familiarity with online tools and the demand for accessible services 24/7 without the need of human interaction. The large format community needs to demonstrate openness to change and understand this is a mature market. It is not just about the products, but how to use those products to create impressions or experiences that boost sales or provide brand engagement.

I see more storefronts going direct-to-consumer online while still offering conventional print solutions. The biggest change is how they are finding their customers. What elements are needed for a balanced approach to market your business today? A lot has changed. In some ways it is easier to get into this business space today than before, because now it only takes a disruptive idea to stand out in the marketplace. The “how” of running the business, or craft, has been established.

I hope to see more solutions to help PSPs build B2C online portals that do not require fulltime staffing. A great idea should be instantly nurtured by an affordably built portal that can be accessed through the web. Are we still just a printing sector, or are we becoming a technology sector, or even fabrication? All the owners I know are focused on reinventing their company vision or positioning it for acquisition or sale.

What to Look For

As you navigate this year’s event, determine what track you are on, and search for revenue and new ways to grow your company. Consider how to make your company easier to do business with or convert from B2B to an expanded B2C audience and all that goes with that path. The last track is productivity, it is now table stakes to be in business and we are always looking for the next idea to streamline output and enhance revenue.

Remember, this is just the start of our expansion and there is more to come. The consumer is demanding more products and benefits from their chosen service providers, not less. A balanced multiple vertical market strategy provides more protection from market changes. As we have seen retailers adapt, so must PSPs. Reduced operating budgets hit hard and reinforce the need for expanded market experience, evolving our expertise to keep on track with how brands market themselves.

Figuring out your business differentiation is key, and the fellowships at conferences often yield the next great ideas. I hope to see you at the first PRINTING United to collaborate on what’s next.

Brian Hart
Owner / Principal
Hart Consulting Services