If you are a negative Nelson or Nancy, please skip this post. The time for hand-holding and putting on a smile to keep you optimistic about the industry is over. It’s your turn to get on board with the future of print, give back, elevate your game… or get out of the way. You have been warned for years this was coming. It’s here.
If you are IN, welcome to the new era of print media and print marketing… already in progress. You have little catching up to do and there are plenty of people and companies ready to help you gear up for this journey. Before you go there, let’s take a moment to get your house in order. Here are 3 ways to take advantage of this moment in time.
There is sufficient evidence to believe that the first time a person or company learns about you, you aren’t there. A click is “the new” handshake. I could cite stats and facts from endless surveys about B2B buyer behaviors, but I don’t need to. What do you do?
If you see/hear something interesting – whether it was through print, online, broadcast, podcast, etc. – and you want more information is your first stop Mr. Google, social media or direct to a website? I know you said yes. If you didn’t, you aren’t functioning in this world like your customers are.
B2B Buyers are online consumers. Per HubSpot, 82% say vendor content influenced their purchasing decision, 53% said social media did. 84% kick off their buying process from a referral – which in 2019 is more likely to be a piece of content than a human making a recommendation.
The moral of the story is this; Make it easy. Make it clear. Make it memorable. A visit to your site should be a welcoming, informative and inspiring experience. If it isn’t, there is no one to blame but you.
PS… Take a listen to Lawrence Chou. He started his business, Printivity, because of a bad print job and a horrific customer experience. Now he serves customers like a BOSS. A lot to learn here.
Whether it’s a brochure, a business card or a billboard, your customers deserve to see the latest and greatest opportunities for project execution available to them. That includes online collaboration tools, paper and substrates, specialty inks and finishing, and bindery options. Those of you fortunate enough to have these in place, make good use of it. If you don’t, make 2019 the year you take your customers to events, invite partners in with technologies you don’t have and have a field trip to your favorite bindery.
Showing off is more than what you can do. It’s tied into what you can bring to your customer relationships that others can’t through automation and communication tools. Print buyers know where their pizza is, where their package is, where their Lyft is. Do they know where their print job is? Do they know their files have passed pre-press and all is cool? Do they know the job is completed and on its way to the final destination?
Printers who don’t start making a serious move to communicate with customers through apps, chatbots, push notifications and text are going to be done when “voice first” takes over this planet. If you don’t know what that is, the countdown clock to buh-bye has already started. Remember, I said no more hand-holding.
LOOK. LISTEN. LEARN.
The world is talking to you. The industry is talking to you. Customers are talking to you. What you want, is no longer the focus of your business. You need to strategize to get what you want THROUGH the selfless, serving of others. That means, and wait for it… sometimes there is nothing in it for you.
If you help a customer figure out the best way to produce a job, and they print it with someone else for $5 less or buy the equipment/products/services from someone else, that doesn’t mean helping people is a waste of time. Eventually, it will pay off… if you are helping the right people. And that is a BIG if. Per HubSpot, at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell. 50. Percent.
What would happen if you spent 100% of your time focusing on the 50% that are the right fit for your business? Could your business grow? Could you learn about these people and strategically use that information to attract more prospects, like them? Could you find out what products and services they are using from others to create more offerings and/or create formal partnerships with outside service providers so you can offer them?
Your current customers are the gateway to new ones. What they say about you and how they feel about you is as important as what you can do service-wise. Listen and learn from them. Market your business based on what they say, and whenever possible have THEM say it.
I am BULLISH on print.
That doesn’t mean I am not a realist. Only the strong and nimble will survive the communication evolution to be on the right side of the communication revolution. And it is a battle… for time, attention and money. You need the right tools, but you need the right attitude first.
Vive la révolution!
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse™ at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist™, industry speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts from The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionals the #1 print group on LinkedIn, Head Girl in Charge (H.G.I.C.) at GirlsWhoPrint, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors including the 2016 Girls Who Print Girlie Award and sits on the boards of the Advertising Production Club of NYC and The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi.
Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer. She currently provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through PMC, and works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers, and achieve success with their social media and content marketing endeavors.
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