December 29, 2023 By PrintAction Staff
In summer 2023, Avant Imaging & Integrated Media (AIIM), a targeted direct marketing company in Aurora, Ont., appointed Bob Gallant as vice-president of sales and marketing. The 58-year-old has spent most of his professional life delivering mission-critical, technology-based print and digital solutions to regulated clients across North America, so we decided to catch up with him.
What is the state of the print industry today, in your opinion?
BG: Print continues to play an integral role in the overall communications market. In Canada, it remains a $10-billion industry. With technological advancements in print production, including vast improvements in digital workflows, the accelerated conversion from offset to digital, and higher efficiencies in the litho world, we see an increase in market capacity.
What attracted you to the industry?
BG: I started my career at IBM’s Printer Marketing & System Supplies division in Toronto around 25 years ago. This gave me an introduction and appreciation of both the digital print and litho industry. The curiosity wasn’t so much for the actual product we produced, but the value they delivered to customers. I’ve always been inspired by the technological advances in the industry and have been fortunate to help drive the digital migration at the companies I worked.
How can the industry attract more young people?
BG: We can attract more youngsters by focusing on the role data, AI and other technologies play in delivering print solutions as part of an integrated communications strategy. If viewed on its own, the print industry will surely lose momentum with young people. However, if we focus on ways to deliver effective communications that drive behaviours, it will continue to be an attractive industry.
In such a competitive landscape, how can printers win more sales?
BG: Print companies can focus on:
- Quality and innovation: Deliver high-quality printing services that exceed customer expectations.
- Customer service excellence: Respond promptly to inquiries, address customer concerns, and ensure a positive experience.
- Customization and personalization: Tailoring your services to individual customer needs can create a stronger connection.
- Quality: Embrace a quality management program and regularly assess and improve your processes.
- Competitive pricing: Conduct thorough market research to set competitive prices.
- Quick turnaround times: Efficient turnaround times are crucial.
- Portfolio and showcase: Maintain an impressive portfolio showcasing a diverse range of your best work.
- Marketing and branding: Invest in effective marketing strategies.
- Networking and partnerships: Be where your customers are. Build relationships with other businesses that might require print services.
- Environmental sustainability: Embrace eco-friendly practices and offer sustainable printing options.
- Educational content: Position yourself as an industry expert.
- What are some of the biggest opportunities you see in the print industry?
BG: Some of the biggest opportunities for growth will be for companies embracing AI and data analytics, and for those that use evolving technologies to drive consolidation plans.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about print today?
BG: The most exciting thing about print today is how it continues to evolve from a technological perspective. Everything we print today has some sort of digital workflow or technology solution behind it. The Soma S-Mount as a stand-alone mounter for mid- and wide-web packaging.
Bob Gallant’s response was edited for length. For more Q&A Spotlight interviews, please visit www.printaction.com/profile.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2023 issue of PrintAction.
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