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What Print Buyers Want -- Printer, Now Buyer, Tells All

November 2008 By Cheryl Adams
Managing Editor
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LORENZO COWGILL, production manager at Alexandria, VA-based Marketing General Inc. (MGI), has a different perspective than many print buyers, which he believes allows him to give an unbiased perspective on the subject of “What Print Buyers Want.” He has decades of printing experience, first serving as a press operator, then moving into estimating, purchasing and production management. As a printer turned print buyer, he offers unique insight.

MGI is a large association marketing firm that provides a broad array of membership services, advertising and exhibit sales, list management and brokerage, e-marketing services and data analytics. Cowgill purchases several millions of dollars in printed products, direct marketing material and direct mail services each year.

“First, I cannot answer this question without including ‘excellent customer service.’ Having spent so many years on that side of the table, I know what kind of service that I gave to my clientele, and I expect the same type of professionalism from the people I am working with,” Cowgill explains.

“Excellent customer service begins with trust. I trust the person I’m working with to be honest and to trust me to be the same with them. I expect them to be knowledgeable, and be willing to find out what they don’t know. They have to be available, personable, truthful and capable. They will listen and be able to offer knowledgeable support to provide the best option for my situation.

Looking for Best Value

“I always look to provide my clients the best value for their money,” he notes. “So, I may push my smaller printers to try printing at a 200-line screen to provide my client with a better outcome. I will also not settle for PDF proofs for the first round. I insist on folded proofs—not necessarily for viewing color—but for showing that the piece is backing up properly.”

When Cowgill first meets with a prospective printer, he asks to see samples of what that shop can produce completely in-house. And, he wants to see their equipment list. If he’s shown a sample that has been diecut, and he doesn’t see diecutting equipment on the list, he poses questions. He also wants to be able to compare prices from shops that have similar capabilities.

 
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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Margie Dana - Posted on November 20, 2008
I enjoyed Lorenzo's story. His comments about buying behaviors are totally consistent with what I hear again and again from buyers with similar experience - as well as those without.

Professional buyers who have no print manufacturing experience would cite the exact same opinions about expectations from their printers. They want value. They consider honesty the #1 quality they seek in reps. They need printers who are consistent in service as well as in quality.

There is one other common characteristic among buyers today that is worth mentioning: buyers adore this business.

I think print buyers are the industry's biggest champions.

Margie Dana
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Margie Dana - Posted on November 20, 2008
I enjoyed Lorenzo's story. His comments about buying behaviors are totally consistent with what I hear again and again from buyers with similar experience - as well as those without.

Professional buyers who have no print manufacturing experience would cite the exact same opinions about expectations from their printers. They want value. They consider honesty the #1 quality they seek in reps. They need printers who are consistent in service as well as in quality.

There is one other common characteristic among buyers today that is worth mentioning: buyers adore this business.

I think print buyers are the industry's biggest champions.

Margie Dana