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Hotter Sales, Less Cold Calls --Sherburne

November 2005
I've been in sales and marketing most of my career and was delighted to be invited to contribute to Printing Impressions on the subject of marketing in the printing industry. This column will appear every other month, and in it I will be offering advice, guidance and suggestions about how you can use marketing strategies to grow your business and make your sales- force more effective.

Peter Drucker, an expert in strategy and policy, once made the comment that the purpose of marketing is to eliminate the need for sales. While I'm certainly not as smart, experienced or well-known as the esteemed Mr. Drucker, I would take the liberty of modifying that comment for our industry to say that the purpose of marketing is to eliminate the need for cold calling.

Defining Marketing

According to Princeton University's WordNet, an online reference service, marketing is defined as "the commercial processes involved in promoting, selling and distributing a product or service." Most corporations employ marketing professionals and, in fact, those very marketing professionals are often the best sales contacts for you as you approach companies to peddle your wares. Most of the printed materials we produce on a daily basis can be categorized as marketing materials—brochures, sell sheets, advertising inserts, direct mail, and even business cards and annual reports. We are experts at producing these materials.

But how much time do we spend thinking about how they are used? And how many printing businesses actually employ someone who has marketing in his or her title, or actually put these tools to work for their own businesses?

A few months ago, I was speaking with Joe Truncale, CEO of the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL). He made a comment that was quite startling to me; he said, "I am waiting for the day that a print salesman will call me the day after a conference or meeting and ask how we did. They know when the event is—the date is on the piece of printing I bought from them. Imagine if a salesperson made that call. It has never happened to me."

This type of follow-up with a client to find out how the printed pieces we provided to them helped them achieve their business objectives is probably one of the simplest forms of marketing to implement. As Truncale points out, we have all the details. Companies pay a lot of money to get that level of detail about their customers and clients, and here we have it right at our fingertips! What a shame not to use the information for the benefit of both you and your clients.
 

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