Michelle Ryder caught up with Mark Davitt, Channel Printing Solutions Manager at HP Inc., following the announcement that the vendor has signed up as Headline sponsor of the PrintIT Awards 2021
Davitt is proud to champion the industry’s only dedicated awards programme for the print industry. “I’ve attended lots of different technology awards events over the years and you never see any dedicated print categories. When you launched the PrintIT Awards last year, we just thought: what a great idea to acknowledge the fantastic work that everybody does within the printing industry. That was one of the reasons we chose to be the Headline sponsor of the PrintIT Awards 2021,” he said.
Davitt shares a common view that whilst broadcasting the 2020 event was a huge success, it’s not the same as attending in person. “Awards serve two purposes, to recognise achievements but equally as important is the opportunity to catch up with old colleagues and friends. But we’d got to a point where you had to close off last year and then talk about the 2021 edition – to that end I think you all did a terrific job. HP had two tables booked so we invited everyone that would have been there to watch the show together virtually and we all enjoyed the hampers!”
As Headline sponsor, HP will take centre stage at the 2021 awards evening and will open the proceedings. The vendor’s branding will also feature prominently on all PrintIT Awards 2021 communications and marketing material before, during and after the event.
“We jumped at the opportunity to support the 2021 edition, and whilst it’s fantastic to have HP branding visible, brand recognition wasn’t the driving factor – it was about having the opportunity to be a part of an event, an evening that will celebrate and recognise the fantastic achievements of the people in this industry,” Davitt explained.
HP is sponsoring three key awards categories: Dealer/Reseller of the Year (Turnover in excess of £5M), E-tailer of the Year and Hardware Distributor of the Year. “We debated long and hard about which categories to sponsor. 95% of everything we do is through the channel and all of that is done through distributors, so our three chosen categories are reseller or distie related,” Davitt said.
“We’ve seen a significant proliferation of users starting their journey, and perhaps in some instances because of COVID, finishing their journey around securing print for the home, online. Internally we talk about a new category – prosumer – a professional individual that would have spent five days a week at work in the office, but more likely post pandemic, will spend two or three days at home. So, we believe that the rise of omni-channel and digital is something that is here to stay within the print industry.”
Davitt believes that in order to remain relevant in the post pandemic world that the channel will have to up the ante in terms of their online capabilities. “There are 25,000 SMB organisations in the UK, it’s not a small market, and then if we add in lower education, it’s almost 50 per cent of the addressable market.”
HP is supporting its partners on that journey, introducing a digital amplifier component within its partner programme. “It’s a category focused purely on helping partners to have some form of digital presence and to transact online. We’ve centred the offering around developing skills, helping partners to build internal capabilities, supplying the platforms and amplifying their online presence – in terms of SEO etc. We’re doing a lot of work to help partners build up their muscle within online – for example, helping them understand how they compare to their counterparts in the same categories, what keywords are working, how long are people spending on their site, where are they going, where are the hot zones, how can they improve the navigation etc. I think this is an area that’s been under-utilised in the print space, particularly around managed print, it’s interesting and I believe we will see a lot more traction within our traditional partner base,” Davitt concluded.