Competition Corporate America Marketing

Sleepin’ with Adobe

My Cajun buddy recently installed a 400+ meg update to Adobe CS3 (including Reader).

After a particularly ugly update session which included enduring multiple reboots, he noticed a striking change to the File menu in his Adobe programs…

What he found was “Send to FedEx Kinko’s” on the File menu.

Someone out there in TV-land is paying attention to the first rule of marketing (or at least, one of them): “Make it easy to buy”

It’s hard not to wonder how much it cost Fedex/Kinko’s to get that line added to Adobe’s CS3 product line, but it isn’t hard to wonder if it’ll pay for itself. Maybe it already has.

As usual, there’s a lesson here. IBM had it plastered all over the walls about 100 years ago.


Think about who else your business can “sleep” with. Whose products and services are complimentary to yours? DON’T be afraid to include your competition on that list. No one does it all.

Do you think Adobe is interested in starting a print service? Probably not. On the other hand, do you think they’ll be happy to take a slice of the revenue generated by every print job sent from Adobe InDesign CS3 to Fedex Kinko’s?

Sure they will. So would I.

Just because you’re a small feed store, a coffee shop, a real estate office, or a software house doesn’t mean these opportunities aren’t there. Look a little harder. Get inside your client’s mind, or as Robert Collier said: “Enter the conversation already going on in your client’s mind.”

2 replies on “Sleepin’ with Adobe”

You may or may not be aware by now, but this little button is creating a revolt inside the print industry. Letters to congressmen have been sent. Print industry representatives are meeting with Adobe this week to get them to remove the button.

While I think FedEx Kinko’s (as you point out) did a great job getting that button, Adobe never should have gone to bed with a company with a thousands stores if it was going to alienate the other 40,000 print shops that have been loyal Adobe users and have helped Adobe build their brand over 15 years or so. In addition, I think this button will confuse and do a disservice to consumers.

So while I agree with finding strategic partners, companies, especially large corporations, need to look at the upside as well as the downside and I don’t think Adobe looked too hard at the downside.

Hi Philip,

I havent been following the situation, however, my initial thought is Adobe isnt the one who dropped the ball here.

Trade organizations of independent print shops, or the print shops themselves, could have just as easily done something like this. And still could.

It would have been just as advantageous for a national print shop trade organization to get a “Print at your local print shop” button added and have the backend technology to route the job to a qualifying independent shop. Would it have required some serious effort? Sure. Are they willing to band together and make it happen? I dont know.

Perhaps Adobe’s failing was not to think about offering that as an option, but in my mind, they simply saw the Fedex/Kinko’s deal as a natural. And it is. Relationships like that happen all over the place. Plenty of web photo galleries, for example, have print relationships with other online vendors.

But instead, people go running to the government to protect them from their own lack of imagination and initiative. I find that weak and un-American, especially when the situation has created a great opportunity for marketing the local shop and even creating a nationwide relationship with Adobe.

Maybe that would be like herding cats, but it shouldn’t be ruled out.

I havent seen or heard of any PR or advertising by the print shops to “go local”, but I suppose I might have missed that.

The thing is, competition isnt ever going away. People who are willing to be imaginative, innovative and carry around some big brass when they compete? They’re in short supply some days.

Thanks for bringing me up to date on the situation, I appreciate it. I hope they find a solution that doesnt involve lawsuits and lobbyists.


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