In an attempt to strengthen its position in what is a new market for Lexmark, the printer vendor has established a colour printer channel.
Calling it the Colour Centre program, Lexmark will rely on its resellers to convince customers of the viability of a colour printer from a vendor that has traditionally focused on the monochrome and inkjet markets.
And according to Alan Macdonald, Lexmark colour specialist, the best way to reach people in this space and build market share is through companies already focused on colour printers.
`Not only are they aware of current and emerging colour printer markets, they have the skills to communicate the benefits of Lexmark's range,' said Macdonald.
Resellers will also be required to submit to ongoing training and keep Lexmark demonstration stock available, said Macdonald.
`They need to be committed to Lexmark and put significant energies behind marketing the product,' he said.
In return for this expertise, Lexmark will offer its channel partners financial incentives, sales support, lead generation and on-site sales and technical training, as well as jointly pursuing new opportunities at trade shows.
With these synergies in place, Macdonald is anticipating Lexmark's current business colour printer market share to grow from its present 16 per cent.
`We're the only vendor even holding its position in the business colour printer market, which is growing at 64 per cent year on year,' said Macdonald. `We're number two in the business printer market if you include monochrome printers but colour is a channel product so we're going to rely on it to push us in this space.'
Four resellers have already signed on for the program, including Colour Plus in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, Sydney-based TFS, and Approved Systems and Dataflex in the ACT.
The current plan is to have `one or two resellers in each state', though there is the potential to expand in both Australia and Southeast Asia, according to Macdonald, with New Zealand and Singapore already expressing interest in the initiative.
However, the channel will be kept `relatively exclusive' and any expansion plans will rely on the recruitment of new people into Lexmark's ranks.
Lexmark's entire range of colour printers will move through this chan-nel, including the OptraColor 45 Networkable inkjet, the Optra SC 1275 and the OptraColor 1200.