As part of the gap intelligence sales team, I was so excited to leave my remote office in New York, and head back to my home country of Japan for our semi-annual presentation tour alongside CEO Gary Peterson and printer analysts, Valerie and Keenan. We traveled all over Japan by Shinkansen bullet trains, visiting nine clients and prospects in seven prefectures in seven business days! But this trip had an unusual but enlightening beginning.

A Rough Start

After flying over the North Pole for fourteen straight hours from JFK and Boston and for eight hours crossing the Pacific Ocean from San Diego, we found ourselves unable to land in Narita due to extraordinarily high wind conditions (very rare for Japan). This 5-hour diversion and the following 2-hours of customs lines got us out of Narita Airport just in time for the whole airport to be shut down and for all trains to Tokyo shut down for the night. Important note if you are planning to attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – Narita International Airport officially closes at 11pm. As the airport staff started handing out sleeping bags and waters to the hundreds of stranded travelers, me and my gaijin companions were in shock. Not because of our surprise accommodations for the night, but by how travelers around us accepted this unwelcomed surprise.

Long line at airport

Our Passion: Proving Our Clients an Exceptional Customer Experience

The rest of the trip was awesome (as Americans say). We love seeing our clients face-to-face, putting names and faces together and getting to know them more on a personal level. In today’s email-based business environment, especially with an ocean between us and more than half a day of time difference in our global community, the personal interactions are more important than ever. This is why gap intelligence has increased our annual international client visits to twice a year in the recent years.

The presentations gap industry analysts deliver for the product and channel categories of their focus often create an environment for lively discussions around where the growth opportunities are or what directions their competitors are heading to. These conversations help us keep pulse on what’s on top of our clients’ minds, where the pain points are and to continuously deliver the most relevant contents back to our clients.

What Was on Our Client’s Mind? Business Inkjets

  • Print is declining and the home/consumer segments are most vulnerable
  • Inkjet manufacturers view inkjets in higher volume (Business Inkjets) segments as an opportunity to grow
  • Despite this shared strategic focus across OEMs, the printer landscape as it stands today is mostly confined to the small business segment
  • 85% of business inkjets are sub-$500 and less than or equal to 20ppm

US Business Inkjet MFP Landscape

The Importance of Face to Face Engagements

We value these client engagements very much at gap intelligence and these visits keep us connected throughout the year while we exchange millions of emails. I feel very fortunate to have the role to be on the frontline in these client relationships and be the bridge between the clients and my fellow gappers.