By Andy Slawetsky, Industry Analysts – Lexmark is in the homestretch of a six city road show that included cities – Lexington, Las Vegas, Orlando, Montreal, Boston and Chicago. Over 300 dealer attendees came to these events for a day of briefings and something fun and social, such as driving Porches and Ferraris on a track, or the Gran Prix, which I attended during my coverage of their Montreal conference. The meetings would be a nice tie-in to speed, power and some incredibly sophisticated technology.
Unlike the other events that began on weekdays, the Montreal event, held for Lexmark’s Canadian dealers, began on Sunday where Lexmark provided incredible seats and an amazing experience for their resellers, who came in from all corners of Canada.
It was truly an amazing day, which ended with an incredible dinner at a hip restaurant in a city that was absolutely rocking from the Gran Prix.
Sitting next to Greg Chavers and Phil Boatman all night, it was clear they were excited for what they were going to show us tomorrow. Great food, great conversations and it was finally time to call it an evening.
For you car enthusiasts, check my photos of the event as there were Ferraris, Bugattis, McLarens, Lamborghinis, Porches, NS-Xs and even an old El Dorado throughout the city.
The next morning began with a welcome from Lexmark’s Clark Bugg. Talk about enthusiasm, Clark had the crowd fired up for the day from the opening.
Set on top of the hotel, the meeting room was beautiful, with a glass backdrop that provided amazing views of the city. If you’re going to be stuck in a room all day, this is much nicer than a windowless conference room, which is pretty much the norm. The bright natural light and scenic backdrop added to the vibe Lexmark was trying to convey.
The day would include product updates, a panel consisting of industry solutions specialists, updates on Lexmark and more. It was a lot to pack in, but they got it done. Marc Kao and his Lexmark’s Canadian team was in full force, there to demonstrate the new products (and close deals).
Lexmark invited two sponsors to participate in the event; ACDI was there representing PaperCut and Darrell Levin of BEI Services presented on dealer metrics and how they measure profitability based on a database of 4 million copiers and printers serviced by 14,000 technicians completing 40,000+ calls a day. Truly amazing information in that presentation.
After getting everyone fired up, Clark talked about Lexmark’s performance in 2017, when they had their greatest hardware growth in a decade, with 10% YoY overall growth and 31% YoY channel growth, all from dealers like the ones in that room, who Clark thanked.
Lexmark, like many other OEMs is becoming increasingly reliant on this channel and Clark shared that 2017 was the first time dealers outsold Enterprise 53% to 47%, with a projection for even greater increase for 2018.
Clark also said that coloUr growth (this is Canada, eh) was 64% YoY and Lexmark has a strong focus on the mid market with their products and solutions.
Next, Phil Boatman spoke to dealers about their recently launched hardware as well as some new products that I can’t talk about (yet). In the pictures, they’re the machines behind the crowds of people who flocked to them during the first break.
Besides the hardware update (and wait until you see what’s coming), Phil talked about Lexmark’s Cloud Device Management program and how this print management service provides easier oversight of print as well as licensed user fees that increase the profitability of the deal. The service is aimed at increasing uptime and first call completion while driving down response times.
During the afternoon, we heard from several of Lexmark vertical experts. These are Lexmark employees hired away from fields like government and medical to come provide vertical expertise to Lexmark. It’s a great strategy and the advantages were obvious as we heard about how things really work at a hospital from someone who actually worked in one for years.
The day ended with a panel of these solutions experts discussing areas of opportunities in their respective verticals and how Lexmark products and services fit into them.
Overall, it was a great trip. Lexmark is clearly trying to build strong relationships with their dealers, not just through aggressive products and programs, but by spending time with them outside of the conference room. These dealers were treated to a top notch couple of days, starting with a great social event and ending with nice day learning about where Lexmark is going.
I appreciate the invitation to cover the event and it was great meeting you all!