A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multimedia strategies that ride the information wave. She has assisted companies in areas such as creating strategies to launch new products, building strategic marketing plans, and educating their sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition.
Before joining InfoTrends, Barb was the Chief Marketing Officer of Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group where she was responsible for all marketing activities for the division. Prior to joining Kodak, she was the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Printing Management and Sciences. Previously, Barb served as Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions; Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Indigo; Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group; and Director of the On Demand Printing and Publishing Service at CAP Ventures.
She is a frequent speaker at industry events, as well as a recognized author.
At one time or another, just about everyone has heard that "the best defense is a good offense." According to Wikipedia, this adage has been applied to many fields of endeavor, including games and military combat. Generally, the idea is that offensive action preoccupies the opposition and ultimately impairs its ability to do direct harm.
This is exactly the approach that in-plants need to take in a world of economic uncertainty, continued corporate restructuring, management changes, and mergers and acquisitions. You need to proactively and succinctly communicate the value that the in-plant is delivering to the organization in terms that all levels of management will understand.
There are three key elements that the in-plant value proposition needs to include:
1. A clear definition of the business problem that the in-plant solves. This seems obvious, but the in-plant is frequently viewed as a cost center. The in-plant manager must, therefore, articulate how the in-plant can help support the organization's business objectives.
2. An understanding of benefits. Value is the difference between the perceived benefits and consequences of selecting a different solution. This means that you must develop a very broad view in defining the benefits of the in-plant and the associated consequences to the organization if it does not have your operation.
3. A superior value proposition. User departments and corporate management must perceive that your value proposition is superior to every alternative being considered. It is your responsibility to differentiate your solution by producing a superior value proposition.
Debbie Pavletich, past president of the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) and graphic services manager of Briggs & Stratton Corp., identified a clear series of benefits that in-plants can deliver. These benefits can also highlight the consequences associated with utilizing external providers. Debbie articulates the following value propositions to her company:
Debbie’s final message is be proactive in communicating. In-plants must ensure that their parent organizations know who they are and understand their value. You need to have the documentation in place to demonstrate that you are the best option.
Her recommendation is to regularly deliver reports that include the following information:
In an uncertain environment, the simple message for in-plants is to define your value, outline your benefits, share the consequences of alternatives and communicate. Now is the time to play some offense!