James Goulding caught up with Ricoh UK Marketing Director Chas Moloney and Head of New Marketing Services Gareth Parker and asked them about Ricoh’s new devices, what applications they are suited to, why direct mail is a disruptive technology and why Ricoh has been so quiet on the office side. Here is (some of) what they had to say.
“What you are seeing today is the culmination of a lot of outstanding work from an R&D perspective centred around customer-driven innovation,” explained Moloney.
“We spend a tremendous amount of time listening to commercial printers, to the heads of CRDs, to people in the industrial sector, and what we have developed with the Pro C7200 and C9200 are products that fulfil the needs of printers and, more critically, the needs of people who ask commercial printers to differentiate what they deliver, whether that be direct marketing, trans-promo, transactional mail or book printing.”
Fast growing applications
“I am seeing two fast growing applications,” said Moloney. “One is book printing – the ability to produce individual books on the fly. No one wants large print runs anymore; no one wants books sitting on shelves; no one wants to be pulping tens of thousands of books at the end of a run or when a new edition comes out. The ability to print on the fly is critical for us and it’s a market we see as a big growth area.
“The second one is direct mail. With the growth of digital marketing – social, market automation and online marketing – direct mail is a differentiator. If you involve printed direct mail as part of an omni-channel marketing approach, your return on investment is around 12% higher. From that perspective DM is a differentiator and a big growth market for us.”
Parker added: “Examples from the last two or three months that I would point to include labels. No one expected us to be at Labelexpo, but there’s a lot we can offer small and medium-sized start-ups that need non-food packaging. We are confident about that market. Then, going back to book printing; the one area of book printing that is really on the increase is colour book printing, particularly children’s books. The last application I would point to is the ‘print on anything’ approach, which is largely driven by inkjet and personalisation. We are also seeing a resurgence in direct mail.”
Direct mail is a disruptive technology
“We were at the B2B expo about a month ago and we had 250 people sitting in a keynote, predominantly millennials or younger,” said Moloney. “When we described printed direct mail as a disruptive technology, they were sitting there going ‘This is something that can really differentiate me as a marketeer’.
“The point I made is that it’s not about the cost, it’s about the value. If you are sending out 100,000 emails and you are looking for a 0.2% open rate and a 0.05% response rate, no one is going to argue with that. But if I am going to send out 100 direct mail pieces that are much more clearly targeted, one-to-one printed, you are looking at maybe a 30% acceptance rate and a 20% response rate. Now, where’s the value and where’s the cost?
“Younger marketeers might live in a world where a campaign is 10,000 or 20,000 emails. They have got to learn the value of 250 direct mail pieces that are much more targeted, timely, appropriate and relevant.”
Parker added: “It was very clear to us over the two days that young marketing people have been brought up to make an impression through a screen. What print offers is so much more diverse that they get excited by what they can achieve. There’s only so much you can do to get someone to open an email – it’s about headline-writing, subject quality, the quality of the image. So, when we showed them what they can do with neons and different substrates etc., it didn’t take them long to become emotionally engaged. One person came up to us and said ‘This will help me to be a better marketeer, because I will not be a one-trick pony for email marketing’. Print gives them something else with which to demonstrate their creativity.”
I wouldn’t say Ricoh has been quiet in the office space. Rather, that we have been quietly and effectively going about our business.
“We are much more of a services-led organisation now,” explained Moloney. “Forty per cent of our revenues come from IT services, process outsourcing, application development, workplace services. While we have diversified to be able to offer much more services to clients, we are still very proud of our legacy office print business.
“In calendar year 2017, we hit the Number One market share in that core office business, with 21.2%. Our nearest competitor was some 7 percentage points behind us. So, we are quietly going about that part of our business. We have some great blue-chip clients and some dynamic SMEs that are looking for real innovation in their print and document management approach and appreciate our ability to add value, either directly or via our resellers.
“We don’t bang the drum about our print legacy, we just quietly get on with it. We are not blasé about it. Nor do we take it for granted. We are still Number One by quite some way, which in that market comes down to people going out and buying Ricoh products, both directly and indirectly.”
He added: “In the summer we have a lot of new software coming out that will take us to another level in terms of managing on-site services in the office environment, particularly in the enterprise and the corporate sector.”