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Feedback from Print Buyers —Dana

December 2010

I'm lucky. I get to be part of large groups of professional print buyers several times every year. The fall 2010 season was a bonanza in that regard.

In October, I moderated a panel discussion featuring two high-level print production pros. We discussed the role of print in the modern media mix. The next day, I kicked off the print buyer programming at Graph Expo 2010 with a full-day Print Buyer Boot Camp, along with Frank Romano and Steve Suffoletto. Our goal? To help educate new print buyers. We covered the basics of commercial printing, as well as how to work with the industry. Then, for the next two days at Graph Expo, I chaired a Print Buyer Forum geared toward senior-level buyers (for the fourth year).

A week later, back in New England, Print Buyers International hosted a Night at the Museum (of Printing) in North Andover, MA, where I had a chance to speak about print buying trends—and then chat with more senior-level print buyers on the cusp of career changes.

Finally, by the time this column is in print, we'll have held our 5th Annual Print & Media Conference, where more than 110 print buying pros (plus print providers and paper industry professionals) convened for two days of educational programming and networking.

Aside from these events, I get a constant stream of e-mails from print customers and print manufacturers who want to discuss industry trends or who have an issue that's bugging them. With all of these connections and conversations, it's my responsibility to listen. Whether or not I can offer on-the-spot guidance or answers, I must at least be mindful of what people are saying and how it fits into the bigger picture.

What I hear is always interesting. Take, for example, what came out of my Brainstorming Session during the Print Buyer Forum at Graph Expo. There were about 45 people in this session. Most were print customers, but a few print providers also attended. Let me share some of the things I heard.

Not About Titles

By the way, they were a very savvy group, averaging 20 years of experience. Their titles were all over the place. About a third of the titles included the word "print" and/or "production." Other titles included Research Engineer, Director of Production, Vice President of Operations, Application Project Leader and Economic Development Assistant. (It's impossible to look for prospects by titles alone. Don't waste your time.)



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