A few weeks ago I sent out a short survey to my fellow print producers to get a quick temperature take on the things they care about, in order of importance. Matthew Parker and I will present the full results and what they mean to printers at HP’s 2016 Jetcomm Conference and again during Dscoop San Antonio, for all attendees, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving I wanted to share one thing with you now: The second most important thing to print buyers is their relationship with their printers (26%), and the first wasn’t cost… cost was third at 20%.
With my Print BuyerologistTM hat on, let me break this down for you: YOU sell the work, not the price.
It’s a given that cost of work is a major factor considering we are print buyers, and buying is a major part of our responsibility to our employers and clients. We have buying practices to follow and a fiscal responsibility to account for every dollar spent. On top of that, the spend is ultimately measured against results, and both need to make sense and generate dollars, and/or achieve the goal intended with the project. Many of us triple bid not only as a practice but also as a legal requirement, and Sarbains-Oxley has literally made questionable practices in the buyer/vendor relationship a federal crime.
When money changes hands it’s serious business for us, but it’s not what drives us to award the work in most cases; it’s our relationship with our printers that tips the scales.
This is a Thanksgiving post and in that spirit I’d like to offer these three metaphoric side dishes of relationship advice in gratitude for all the printers and service providers who have made me shine, and saved my ass, over the years:
The Green Bean Casserole: Not everyone knows what is in there, only that it tastes good. Before you just pass it along, take a moment to learn the ingredients, and discuss. There may be a better way to mix it up, or heat it up, or add some spice. You’ll never know if you just scoop, plop it on your plate, and hand it off.
The Stuffing: Certainly this is one of the stars of the Thanksgiving meal, but it’s expected. While you should always have stuffing available on your table, be adventurous and introduce some variations on the classic. Build flavors upon your solid base, create variations and offer as alternatives. Make a toppings tray with options that have been tasted and tested to work together. Guests can always stick with the classic, but you will be remembered for the effort and the ideas you present.
The Cranberry Sauce: Arguably one of the more polarizing condiments, but whether you are a “jelly” or a “chunky” family, no Thanksgiving feast is complete without this tangy treat. It’s the piece that ties this holiday meal together, and works in partnership to elevate your dishes by acting as a compliment to the menu. Whether you make your own, snazz up something from the store, or just open the can and let it ooze out, it’s a critical component and cannot be overlooked without consequence. You always want to be the cranberry sauce in the minds of your customers!
I hope you left some room for a little dessert! To all of the service providers out there – whose lives print customers can sometimes make rather interesting – THANK YOU for helping us get it done, for showing us better ways to do it, for teaching us smarter ways to do it, and being there for us in good times and, in bad.
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, the #1 Print 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 them to achieve success with their cross media and social media marketing endeavors.