Over the last half century, Swiss company Rohner Spiller has established itself as a leading commercial printer. Thanks to a fast and high quality end-to-end print service, it has built up a loyal customer base across a wide range of markets – from architects and graphic designers to SME and large businesses. Its fully optimised production environment, which includes hardware for everything from narrow and wide format printing and finishing to scanning and laminating, is equipped to handle almost any print order.
However, as the company’s CEO, Remo Martin, points out, production capability alone doesn’t win new business – something that in 2012, had become a pressing need: “Our business was performing well and we had a lot of jobs from existing clients. But prices were falling quickly, so we needed a way to maintain and increase our revenues and provide long-term stability. We needed new clients.”
The company considered investing in new printing and finishing equipment, but these solutions didn’t offer the USP it was targeting: “Focusing on the changing communications landscape, we were looking for a way to help our customers adapt to an evolving culture where everyone was increasingly consuming information across different media.”
Although Martin and his team were aware of the opportunities in online marketing and cross-media, he recalls that they didn’t have the necessary insight or market knowledge: “We were overwhelmed by the amount of information available and therefore sought a partner that could sieve through the information overload, simplify the market and guide the company through unchartered territory.”
After extensive marketing research, which included speaking to leading cross-media solution suppliers at drupa 2012, Rohner Spiller decided to invest in Canon’s proposition, involving DirectSmile software. “Two things beyond the capabilities of the software became very clear during our discussions with Canon. One, that the company has vast experience in the market and two, that it would work with us in a partnership capacity and provide that guiding hand we needed.”
The guiding hand came in the form of a three-day training session provided by Canon, which taught Martin and his team the cross-media basics and how to devise customer campaigns using DirectSmile. “This invaluable training was complemented by thorough business discussions that focused on how to make the service profitable. We worked with Canon on a number of ideas, both of us proposing new business models, while Canon showed us existing customer campaigns they’d helped work on. That helped us to define the direction we wanted to go in.”
This new direction was important. Given Rohner Spiller’s strong brand awareness as a print services provider, it was decided that the company’s new cross-media offering needed its own market identity. While this new service would ultimately feed back into the main business, it was therefore set up as a separate division, called ‘Querfeld1’. Derived from the German expression for ‘Cross-Country’, this name perfectly clearly conveyed the spirit of exploration in the company’s new venture.
Today, Querfeld1 is a flourishing brand that has strengthened Rohner Spiller’s business. Run by three dedicated specialists, who offer digital marketing services like email marketing, e-newsletters and webpage design, the Querfeld1 team also supports customers with their marketing strategies:
“Existing customers love our new cross-media and marketing automation skills and the fact we can increase the value of their campaigns. We can simplify and automate their workflows with minimal human intervention, and transform our print products into solutions that increase our revenues. Not only have we evolved our business model and broadened our customer proposition to win new customers and regain old ones, but grown our printing volumes by 20 per cent.”
Beyond traditional cross-media applications, like direct mail embedded with personalised landing webpages, the brand has also developed a sophisticated online tool for local garage businesses. Martin recalls that, “Our first big solution was a system called CARS 2.0, an online surveying tool that helps our garage customers to gather detailed information on their customers’ preferred method of communication. Whether by phone, SMS, direct mail or email, the tools helps them to make their communications more effective.”
Martin concludes: “We have a close relationship with Canon, who have helped us to sustain our business. The Canon team is always there to support us and provide a quick response to any issues. As a result of our partnership, cross-media is now a big part of our service offering. We have broken even on our investment, and moving forward we anticipate increased profitability and further growth.”