One of the big issues Bartolacci focused on was accelerated time to market. Being late to market with a new product, or even a mislabeled package, can put you at a significant disadvantage to the consumer.
Shift to Digital
The emphasis needs to be a switch to not only digital printing, but also digital marketing.
Digital printing gives you flexibility to personalize your message, or manipulate your production runs. It allows you to be nimble and get products tested quickly. We’ve highlighted the tremendous research work that is being done by Package InSight, which is pushing cut speed to market time down to 18 weeks.
Digital content is also increasingly important. When someone is shopping for a product, they look beyond the label. They can research the product, right in the store, looking at online reviews and supporting content.
Bartolacci emphasized the need for packagers and label manufacturers to think beyond the label to bolster your own growth. Brands want you to play a bigger role in the entire marketing approach -- why not branch out into digital marketing?
Speed to Market Extends to the M&A World as Well
As quickly as things are happening to label printers in the game, they’re accelerating just as rapidly for those looking to exit. Investors are moving rapidly on potential acquisitions. At the AWA, we heard of an investor that will spend $50 to 100,000 before the close just to assess a potential acquisition -- with no guarantee they’ll make a purchase.
They’re looking to compress the transition window on label companies for sale, so they can recoup their investment sooner. There’s also a tremendous amount of cash reserves sitting on the sidelines, and investors want to spend it on forward-looking companies, poised for the future.
So What Does This Mean for You?
If there’s one thing I would tell you, whether you’re selling or growing your company, it is that you should be focused on accelerating your own speed to market. Don’t hesitate to make investments to improve the speed and efficiency of your own business.
Investors won’t devalue your company for it -- instead, they’ll see it as visionary. They’ll view you as moving toward the future, not resting on the laurels of the past. It’s a race, folks. A race to the consumer, a race to the investors, a race to your own personal dreams. And the only way to win is to get yourself out of the starting blocks.
Rock LaManna is the author of L&NW's popular The Bottom Line column. Rock helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic path. He is President and CEO of the LaManna Alliance, and provides guidance on how to grow a printing business, merge with a synergistic partner, make a strategic acquisition, or create a succession plan. Rock can be reached by email at Rock@RockLaManna.com.