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What Print Buyers Want -- Honesty and Expertise

January 2009 By Cheryl Adams
Managing Editor
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SOMETIMES THE littlest things can mean a lot. Like carefully reading the job order and getting the specs right the first time around. Or, finding innovative ways to turn a problem into an opportunity. Or, providing an honest professional opinion rather than simply trying to close the deal.

Conversely, sometimes the smallest detail—overlooked—can also cost a job.

Jennifer Dyslin is a print buyer for Englewood, CO-based Starz Entertainment LLC (as in the Starz and Encore premium channels). As a veteran print buyer and senior manager of print production at Starz, Dyslin reveals what she expects from print providers, the biggest peeves she has with them and how going the extra mile can be the key to getting—and keeping—her business. Dyslin and another buyer purchase direct mail, brochures, high-end packaging, press kits and point-of-sale materials to the tune of about $3 million a year.

What do you look for when considering a new print provider?

First: Can the company offer something new and different than my current vendors? Equipment lists and capabilities may be similar, but what are you doing that makes you stand out from the rest? 

Second: If I’m seeking a new vendor, it’s because I have a project that requires something an existing vendor cannot provide. 

Third: I want a “partner” relationship with my vendor. I want someone who can make me look good because my choice in a vendor directly reflects on me. I will come to a vendor with specifications, but I’m always open to alternatives and better ways of accomplishing the goal of the project. We need to be on the same page at every stage of the process. 

What are the top three things you expect from a print provider? 

No. 1 is “Read my purchase order!” I do not like getting a phone call asking what paper we chose or what the ship address is, when I have detailed that on the PO. I don’t mind questions for clarification, but if you are skipping over the details of my PO, what else are you missing or assuming?

Be very buttoned up when I have given you an opportunity to bid a job. This is the first chance.

 

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