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Web Presence is Critical —Sherburne

May 2010

IN A RECENT post to her new blog (jennifermatt.com), independent Web-to-print expert Jennifer Matt poses the question: Can and should printers become marketing service providers? She suggests that while that might be the ultimate goal, printers are perhaps better served by attacking the challenge from a position of strength—developing a compelling online presence that features the company's core strength—print—and then working from there.

While I have been among the voices clamoring for rapid and dramatic change to address the emerging new market realities, Matt makes a terrific case for taking a slower, more thoughtful, approach to the challenge most firms are facing—declining print revenues. Does this mean you should not be investing in an online presence that goes beyond a company brochure and equipment list?

Of course not! It is still critical that your Web presence be modern and compelling, and that you provide an easy way for your customers to do business with you 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection—which is just about everywhere these days.

New Sales Paradigm

But, at the same time, you should also be working to transform the way you sell to customers. The old "what print do you have for me today," or "Gee, aren't we excited about our new press" approach just doesn't work like it used to.

The way to reach the minds and hearts of marketers (who are, in the end, the primary driver for print procurement) is to present them with proactive solutions to the problems they face every day.

Sorry, most marketers really don't care about your press, even if it is a brand spanking new, high-end digital mega-press with all the bells and whistles. And they really are not buying print.

They are working hard to support their organization's business goals and objectives, which generally and increasingly involves extending the level of support they offer to their sales organization in order to deliver qualified leads and be able to measure results they can deliver in terms of return on marketing investment.

As Matt points out, that requires understanding what that printed piece will be used for, what business objectives are behind the need to produce it, why they want it in the first place and, dare I say it, questioning whether they really need 25,000 or 50,000 copies, or whether it needs to be printed at all to best achieve those objectives.

 

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