Rod Key, founder and CEO of R and R Images in Phoenix
Willie Brennan, owner of Custom Print Now Solutions in Columbia, MD
WHAT DO professional golf and Web-to-print have in common? Both make reference to a skins game, where a lot of money is at stake for something that, at first blush, doesn’t seem all that difficult to accomplish. The skill and effort involved are often easily overlooked. On the printing end, the skins game is all about charging print buyers for the design, setup and maintenance of customer branded Web-to-print sites, along with the hosting and service fees that printers absorb. It’s about validating (and justifying) the work salespeople put into peddling the technology. It’s about fostering the notion that an investment of dollars must realize an investment of mind and heart—if you really want clients to buy into it, well, make them buy into it.
“Printers seem to think that you have to give everything away,” bemoans Rod Key, founder and CEO of R and R Images in Phoenix, and a veteran at providing customers Web-to-print solutions. “You have to look at its value to clients from a marketing standpoint. The printing part is really easy, but the message and creative may be very important. It’s a solution and, whether you paid $10,000 or $200,000 for it, you need to ask yourself if it makes sense to just give it away.”
So how do you charge for Web-to-print sites? Key points out that volume commitments can do the trick, as can a monthly fee. In some cases, a printer might not mind giving away a Web-to-print solution to a power user that generates a relative high volume of orders. It’s a no-win situation, though, if a sales rep invests too much time into a customer that might end up only placing $300 in orders per month.
Shawn Allison, president of Denver-based Thinking Big Solutions, believes that charging even just a nominal fee is important to get clients fully invested in the Web-to-print life. But, the circle isn’t completed unless a customer can adopt the online approach as its cultural way of getting production done.