Forget Trump, Impeachment, and Tom Brady. Here Are Some Zingers for Your Thanksgiving Dinner.
Topic #1: Clover’s back, but what has changed?
Read the news here. First off, the existing management team at Clover has navigated through some really difficult waters. With their existing creditors and private equity group being squeezed, it could have ended terribly. News of the deal is light on financial details. So, now what? The same management team that has made a disastrous foray into mobile phones, seen revenue nearly halved in the last five years despite acquiring most of their competition, gets... another chance? That’s crazy. My thoughts were galvanized when they disparaged their competition (calling their competitors names like “clones”), demanding that OEMs protect their IP against new build compatibles so they can win back market share, and betting the future on MPS? Does that sound like a winning strategy?
Topic #2: HP and Xerox are dating, but what will the marriage look like?
As the expression goes, if this is dating, I don’t want to see the marriage. HP is hanging tough and has gone from a polite “no” to a “hell no”. View HP's latest releasehere. Icahn and Deason will buy enough stock in HP to force some movement here. This deal needs to get made. Xerox has a direct contractual relationship with over 10 million businesses in North America. HP does not. HP noted that Xerox has “holes” in its IT and supply chain. If I’m HP, I see that as a HUGE positive. Imagine the efficiencies of pumping 9-10 billiondollars of product through their existing supply chain? The resulting company will dwarf all others in the market and force the rest of the market to react.
Topic #3: Why a continued focus on MPS could kill your business.
We can debate on the exact time MPS started getting so much mindshare in the market, but let’s say 2005 was the year. That’s 15 years! Have you recouped your investment? Are you winning accounts with MPS? I speak to dozens of dealers a month. Most continue to struggle with MPS. If you are struggling, you can either continue struggling, or you can move on. MPS has a space, but it’s at the very high end of the customer market: 300+ employees. That space is dominated by OEMs, national dealers, and MPS specialists. As people print less, the middle market (100-300 employees) becomes difficult to manage on a per-page basis.
My same question to Clover is a question for you. How long do you struggle with something before labeling it a failure?
Topic #4: Seat-based billing and annual per page increases.
I’ve long thought it was astounding that customers accept the notion that they should pay more for each page on an annual basis. Where else do you get to increased prices by 10% a year? It’s been my issue with seat-based billing. If a company recognizes they are decreasing print volumes by 5-6% a year, wouldn’t it make more sense to ask for the per seat rate to decrease every year instead of increasing?
Companies that figure out how to market against these two practices in the industry will have a significant differentiator.
Enjoy your turkey! And before you get crushed with Christmas music, enjoy the greatest turkey song of all time.