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OCTOBER 2012





Serving the _____ Market
by: Tim Greene, InfoTrends

DEALERS TAKE NOTE.....

Some people call it the "novelties" market, others call it the "tchotchkes" market while still others calls it the "advertising specialties" market. Call it what you want but it is clear that this market is large, profitable, and increasingly "going digital" with the help of some companies that are probably near-and-dear to the readers of this wide format section of Dealer Communicator.

This advertising specialties market consists of a huge variety of products that have historically been printed using screen and pad printing technology such as golf balls, mobile phone cases, awards, headphones, jump drives, pens and lighters. In these days of personalization and the Internet, combined with advances in printing technology, digital printing is making significant inroads into the production of these products. What has enabled this market has been the combination of new ink technology and the use of innovative print head positioning and movement techniques that make it possible to print onto a wide range of substrates and print onto variable surfaces.

I can't think of any professional athlete or top-producing sales rep who have become successful by avoiding critical feedback.

In fact, even the greatest professional golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, understands the value of seeking out advice on club selection from his caddy before taking a swing at the ball.

Unsuccessful people often reject feedback and avoid taking personal responsibility for their actions. They have difficulty admitting weaknesses and when confronted, they'll frequently respond to feedback by lashing out in anger to deflect blame or deny responsibility.

{short description of image}These are some of the same inks, tools, and techniques that are used in the wide format flatbed inkjet market and are brought to market by some of the same companies, notably Roland and Mimaki. The Roland LEF-12 is a good example of this class of small flatbed printer. This is a small 6-color UV-curable inkjet printer that lets users print on 3D objects up to nearly 4-inches thick and has an automatic height adjustment feature which makes it easy for novice users to create high-margin printed products. For consumer and business markets .

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There are two other aspects of this class of equipment that add to their overall value because they can be used in different settings. FIRST. . . because they are small they take up very little space, also, the LEF-12 uses only a standard household power source.

This combination means that these printers can be used in a wide variety of stores and shops. A lot of the buyers of these kind of specialty printing devices will be small businesses that are not even traditionally in the printing business. Trophy and sports awards companies, T-Shirt and novelty shops, and even mall kiosks are good examples of non-traditional users of this kind of small flatbed printer. These printers are not necessarily inexpensive (the LEF-12 shown above has a list price of around $30,000, but the companies are offering lease programs that minimize the investment.

A Product Line For Dealers To Consider
As equipment and supplies dealers, you can help your printing customers to "step out of the box" and see this type of equipment as a way to open a new market or to add additional services for their clients. As for yourself, innovative equipment like this may help you expand beyond your traditional customer base to create a stream of revenue from new markets.

Tim_GreeneDC Author Tim Greene, Director of Wide Format Printing Consulting Services, InfoTrends, will field your questions, comments or arguments by email: tim_greene@infotrends.com

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