Friday, February 6, 2009

Let's stop catering to the Press

Given today's dismal performance of the WSJ, allegedly the Gold Standard of business reporting, why not stop treating them as if they control the public perception.

Kodak, Oce, Ricoh and us have writers that are as talented as any of the "journalists" who are chasing the breaking stories.

Meanwhile, because 1 busy reporter got it wrong, Kodak will most probably take a stock price hit today. More talking heads will "explain" that it's about the cause du jour. And our good people will be distracted from doing their jobs to correct that reporters error. In any case, becuase of one person, Kodak has had to release lots of very smart people from their NDAs. about if all the vendors got together. Once a week everyone puts together a PDF. Every vendor gets their own front page for their customer, but the copy inside is a realistic, professional look at what's going on.

Then we distribute and print through everybody's network. Publish close to the ground and distribute to identified investors, "analysts".

The printer wins because he has something to send to all their customers and prospects. All he has to do is take the 4 page PDF and output. Then give a copy to his salesforce as an excuse to drop by the customer.

The investor wins because he gets some real talk about the real world.

The PR people win because they can use their time and talent to get it straight, instead of cajoling and trying to keep some journalist happy by doing their job for them.

The customer wins because doing comparisons of this equipment or that equipment will be easy as could be when a Kodak shop and a Xerox shop and Ricoh shop are all printing the same thing.

Everybody wins because then we have honest competition, based on price, performance and the quality of our vendors customer responsiveness. In an open competition, the Printers will be incented to get it right. The Vendors will be incented to be able to win on product and service not on spin.

My bet is that we, at Xerox and maybe our friends at the other vendors could all get their SG&A much closer to the WalMart standard of 16+%. Plus we as industry can show people the real power of distribute and print.

The only ones that lose, in the short run, is the newspapers. But's that their problem. Not our problem.

People, enough is enough.

Besides, given the number of great people everyone has had to let go, we could probably outsource the whole thing to a start-up for less annual budget then 1 TV buy. No need to increase the head count.

And who knows, maybe other corporations will see that "the emperor has no clothes" and hire the start up to do it for them. More clicks for everyone!

Consider: Wal Mart built an WlaMart channel in the stores. Google does no TV media buys.
The problem is our old silo culture. But we tell everyone network or stagnate. Let's eat our own dog food.

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