Greetings Citizens of the Printerverse!
As promised in my post last month I will be rolling out results from my 2017 Print Buyer Survey. The survey background info can be found here. If you haven’t read it please do that first, then come back to this post to absorb the information in context. Normally I would put a bit of distance between 2017 survey results posts, but a recent real-world experience makes this subject matter poignant and topical.
Here we go!!!!
It is always good to know WHY buyers choose the print service providers they work with, especially the customers from the big agencies and brands I surveyed… so I asked:
The Result: An OVERWHELMING 84% of respondents have no interest in anything you do besides printing.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to the printers who call on agencies and brands. However if you are still thinking that transforming your business to “Marketing Service Provider” (MSP) or dropping PRINT from your company name will open those doors, think again.
As a Print Buyerologist who comes from the agency world I have always had issues with the MSP thing. I have not found most printers to be very skilled at marketing themselves, which does set realistic expectations for their ability to help others. Regarding the MSP movement, the “Industry” has a vested interest to help itself stick around. If there is less print volume, offering additional non-print services to keep money coming in makes sense, in theory. In some cases the MSP model has been executed correctly and has helped print businesses expand offerings and open new revenue channels. For the majority of printers who don’t have the financial and/or personnel resources and correct partners to execute the MSP model, good news is the big brands and big agencies are fine with you being printers! Amen!
Bringing it Back to Basics…
Last week I fired a company contracted to help me with SEO and a few additional services after a month of ineptitude and unprofessionalism that hit a new level for me. It relates here because they have SEO in their company name. THAT is their specialty and in the big picture they delivered on this. When it came to the additional services and managing them proactively, that is when all hell broke lose. They were not equipped – despite convincing me in a 2hr face-to-face meeting that they were – to handle the other work. It all came crashing down; I’m not getting over being fooled by their promises and subjected to cleaning up their mess anytime soon.
Now imagine if that was my experience with a printer. I would make sure everyone knew to stay away from them. And by the way… this happens all the time when buyers ask each other for resources in the secret ways we do. I can tell you (and often do) that how you handle a crisis is valued 20000x more than anything else. Not delivering on promises/expectations… consider yourself done.
While my experience with the SEO company was horrific, I hope it will serve a greater purpose as a lesson to the print providers out there: Stick to what you know!
If you are a printer – celebrate it! Share your craft with the world, show-off your amazing work and customers. Educate your community (through applications) on the projects you can help them create. Submit for awards; participate as thought-leaders on webinars, panels, and at events. Get KNOWN for what you do.
For services beyond printing: SQUAD UP as I suggested in my 2017 CMYK Manifesto. Bring experts in their field to your service menu. Get KNOWN for having amazing partners and being an amazing resource for your customers.
The moral of my story is to acknowledge you cannot be everything, to everyone. To the big brands and ad agencies they are perfectly happy loving printers for exactly who they are!
More survey result posts to follow… please subscribe to PMC’s News from The Printerverse for once a month PRINTSPIRATION… and to see them first!
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 #PrintChat, a weekly industry gathering on Twitter every Wednesday at 4PM ET. 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 social media marketing endeavors, and meaningful relationships with customers.