Welcome to my blogging duel with TEAM UK’s Matthew Parker. If you have been following along you can skip right to the post… and if you are just joining us, here is some background…
Matthew and I haven’t always seen eye to eye when it comes to Print Buying. He comes from the UK procurement world, and I come from the USA agency world. We used to argue about process, but over the years it has turned into a mutual respect. However, that doesn’t mean we now agree, or see things the same way! As a matter of fact, most of the time we don’t. So we decided to turn that into Print Buying: #UKvUSA and share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond!
At the end of my post is a link to Matthew’s post on the same subject. We don’t know each other’s response before writing our own. Maybe we will agree, maybe we wont, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part! We have also set a 500 words or less format to keep things moving along – but I did go a little over this month, so sorry!
Please do leave comments and if you happen to support one side over the other let us know on either blog! I am proudly representing TEAM USA, and we are using #UKvUSA on Twitter. LET THE DUEL COMMENCE!
#UKvUSA Your Printer Has A New Press:
Coming up in the Ad Agency world I didn’t have a lot of exposure to the print industry, or the press offerings that were out there. At this time, offset was king, and Heidelberg was the big iron throne we all were after to print on. (Bonus #GoT reference!)
When digital presses came around, the printers we worked with making those investments were eager to share the news, but many fell short of making convincing arguments (or samples) to get us off our trusty offset presses. Some even created more skepticism about this new technology vs. new users and more printing revenue.
Times have changed a lot since then. Digital has taken its well-deserved place as heir to the print kingdom, and printers are not only investing in new equipment but also in their futures with every purchase. Equally as important, along with those investments comes a golden opportunity for printers to take the lead on customer education and help them understand the big picture value of these presses as it pertains to them… and I literally mean them, as individuals.
Here are some quick Do’s and Dont’s when it comes to sharing news about your new press from a customer standpoint:
DO make a big deal about it! You’ve spent a pretty penny so send out a press release, share the news through all your channels, and even have a big party to celebrate. But DON’T lump all your customers into one basket when it comes to following up. Help them understand how this press relates to them in their world before taking them to the realm of possibilities.
DO create killer samples! There is not better way to show a customer what your press can do than by doing it. Create a personalized and relevant media kit for each customer (and prospect) so they can imagine their work looking as fabulous. DON’T send generic samples! This might be your first and only moment to WOW and a tri-fold brochure isn’t going to do it. Spend some money on this. And please SPELL CHECK and include production notes!
DO keep the conversation going! Many times I’ve wanted to use a press, or a finish, or some cool binding but we couldn’t get the client to go along. The more relevant information you send that I can use as leverage, the better. But DON’T get spammy! This is still part of following up and if I work with financial clients keep the information and samples you share relevant to the marketing tone of that world.
DO take the lead! Customers may not have opportunities to attend trade shows and other industry events where they can learn about presses and ALL they can do. Once you have established relevancy, go for all that is possible – especially with your agency and more creative clients. Just DON’T rush it! Sure printers want to recoup their investment costs as soon as possible, but pushing customers will backfire and push you right on to the “ignore until I need something from you” list.
DO share case studies! The best people to talk about your new press with customers are your customers using it! Do what you need to do to make this happen, and with permission share their printed samples everywhere. This is also the best way to attract new customers. And DON’T get in the way! What might be relevant to you might not be relevant to them, but it will be relevant to someone out there. Prompting quotes or asking for testimonials with leading questions takes away from the real experience they want to share… please let them!
Next month: Who Really Cares About Color?
Until then… keep your dragons in check and join in the lively (sometimes riotous) conversations about the #UKvUSA duel topics in the Print Production Professionals Group on LinkedIn. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on ours, and how you share news or prefer to learn about new presses!
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr, a Print Buyerologist™, Integrated Marketer, Industry Speaker and Blogger, Cultivator of the Print Production Professionals Group on LinkedIn, and host of the weekly industry #PrintChat on Twitter. She has more than 25 years experience working in advertising and marketing, and currently works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping with their cross media and social media marketing endeavors.