Chief executive Martin Woolley, who led a management buyout of independent media agency The Specialist Works this summer, believes printers and print managers need to form a closer bond with their clients in 2019 to encourage loyalty.

The Specialist Works chief executive Martin Woolley

What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
For the politicians not to pull the rug out from under UK plc!

What trend (business or technology) do you think 2018 will be remembered for?
This is the year we will look back on as the tipping point for e-commerce vs high street. All of the early indicators around Black Friday were that footfall was awful, but e-commerce was very strong. I will bet that mobile shopping saw a massive jump when the figures are done in January.

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2019 and why?
For us as print managers, consultancy is the biggest opportunity. If you can advise clients through a really difficult landscape – post-GDPR, economic downturn etc – you have the opportunity to be more valued and an advisor rather than supplier.

What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2019 and why?
The reverse of the above – anyone who doesn’t become a genuine advisor to their clients can face further commoditisation and watch their clients plan more budget away from them. Print isn’t a given anymore – and if you don’t show your clients how to make it pay, don’t expect loyalty.

What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2019?
Retain, recruit, develop. The industry has a responsibility to invest in young talent. Only this will ensure we have a succession and skills development plan for an innovative future.

What was your biggest disappointment in 2018?
Not losing the last stone I needed to.

What was your highlight of 2018?
Better Call Saul season four. I am already childishly excited by the prospect of season five!

What are your hopes for 2019?
Better Call Saul season five being out this year.

What is your one-word view on Brexit?
Unignorable.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Never forget first and foremost to be kind.

What if anything will you do differently in 2019?
Lose that stone!!!

What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?
One snowman says to the other: “Here, can you smell carrots?”

What was the best Christmas present you ever received?
Trip to New York.

Are you making any New Year’s resolutions? If so, what?
No booze, no cake, no chocolate. I give myself a week.



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