In 2003, the RIT Printing Industry Center monograph titled Investing in Digital Color...the Bottom Line (PICRM-2003-10) identified four different business models that were related to successful digital color print services enterprises. The four models reflected different levels of investment in equipment, telecommunications and networking infrastructures, and human resources.
The purpose of this research is to validate those four models. The 2003 research was based on a small sample size of print services providers which did not allow us to generalize to a wider population. Are there just four models? Or are there more or fewer? The earlier study described the investment in infrastructure only and did not include other aspects of the businesses in the model profiles. Therefore, a more in-depth study was designed to provide more reliable estimates of the investments for each model and to add business performance measures.
The current research was designed to:
Validate the business models of successful digital print services providers, using a larger sample and more robust statistics methods of clustering.
Provide a fuller picture of print services providers in terms of proportion of revenue associated with variable data jobs, digital color versus digital black and white, and what industries are targeted by their selling efforts.
Identify the hardware, software, and other infrastructure characteristics related to each business model and estimate the financial investments that were made.
Describe in greater depth the nature of the applications of these print services providers (e.g., mail/merge versus fully customized materials) and the marketing goal of their programs (acquisition or retention).