Epson’s new commercial marketing executive for office solutions is out to educate dealers on the value proposition of inkjet technology along with Epson’s many other product offerings.
Epson has a new commercial marketing executive for office solutions. He may be new at Epson, but he’s not unfamiliar to many of us in the industry. It’s Joe Contreras, who spent the last 18½ years at Toshiba, most recently in the role of vice president, product and solutions marketing.
At Epson, Contreras is responsible for portfolio management, sales and marketing programs, the software portfolio, and its Workforce Enterprise business printing solutions. He reports to Mark Matthews, Epson’s vice president of commercial sales and marketing, and former CEO at Toshiba.
Contreras is bullish on what Epson brings to the market and believes the timing is right for selling the company’s inkjet products as well as other products in the Epson line through the independent dealer channel. But it’s inkjet technology that he deems the door opener.
“We see the business printing market primed for significant disruption,” he said. “If you look at the various print segments, the trend shows that inkjet leads at the low and high end of the market. Inkjet represents over 90% of unit placements in the consumer, wide format, and industrial press segments. Office and production are the only segments where laser continues to have a foothold, but we see that changing.”
The value proposition of inkjet, according to Contreras is a lower TCO for business applications and engines that typically have fewer moving parts than toner-based devices which allow for greater reliability and products that are easier for dealers to service. More importantly, Epson’s technology is a cold process that doesn’t use heat so it consumes significantly less energy and is more environmentally friendly.
At Epson Contreras is tasked with getting this message out, particularly in a changing independent dealer channel landscape impacted by price compression, declining profit margins, competition from mega dealers, manufacturers, and new entrants to the market. He believes inkjet is a differentiator and a way to future proof their business and position themselves for growth by providing more value to clients through a better total cost of ownership and offering customers greater value for the money they’re spending.
Contreras is encouraging dealers to partner with a manufacturer like Epson that he describes as forward thinking and can help drive business by securing net new placements and helping dealers get in opportunities where they haven’t been able to before. Epson does not sell direct and only sells through reseller channels so the threat of manufacturer direct competition does not exist.
To demonstrate its commitment to dealers Epson has made significant investments in R&D and product development, which is epitomized by its flagship products, the WorkForce Enterprise Series. Two models, the WorkForce Enterprise WF-C17590 color multifunction network printer and WorkForce Enterprise WF-C20590 A3 color MFP output at 75 and 100 ppm, respectively.
According to Contreras, the company has strong programs in place not only to onboard the dealer with Epson, but to drive business, such as its FastStart program. The company will also be rolling out a demand generation program that helps generate leads on the dealer’s behalf.
It’s not just print Contreras is tasked with marketing. He’s also touting the Epson Business Solutions line of products, which includes wide-format printers, projectors, and scanners. All of which will also be available to dealers.
Talking to Contreras, there’s no doubt Epson is committed to the independent dealer channel. In addition to Contreras, Epson has assembled a team of what Contreras describes as “high-caliber industry talent [in sales, marketing, and service] with backgrounds from every major player in the industry.
“We’ve brought together a nice collection of talent with great ideas and that are familiar with how the print industry works, familiar with the BTA channel and how dealers operate,” said Contreras.
Epson has a field-based sales team that is meeting with dealers. Epson plans to take an aggressive approach to signing up dealers, a number that currently stands in the several hundred range.
In the meantime, Contreras acknowledges that the biggest challenge for Epson is educating dealers about the size and breadth of Epson’s offerings and the value it brings to dealers.
“Epson is a great company, it’s a matter of raising that awareness,” he said. “Most people in our industry don’t know that Epson generates approximately $10B in annual revenue. Of that, over $6B comes from inkjet printing which spans from consumer products to our $1M fabric production printers.”
Asked how his first month with Epson has been, especially after spending most of his career at another manufacturer, Contreras is nothing but positive and grateful for the new opportunity.
“It’s been great so far. Epson has a great team in place, and it’s been a seamless transition for me.”
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