Dana on Marketing Messages: How to Host Client EventsNovember 2013 By Margie Dana
Printer as party planner? As Frank Romano likes to say, "Gimme a break!"
Hear me out.
Yes, you barely have enough time in the day to do your real job: running a printing company. And all the noise about social media activity and "upping" your content marketing can be deafening. (I contribute to that noise and make no apologies for it—it works!)
However, there is another effective way for printers to market their services: private customer events. By hosting a customer event, a printer can do ALL of the following: build good will, enjoy out-of-office face time with customers, strengthen customer relationships, inform customers about new or existing capabilities, impress prospects and turn them into customers, showcase your strengths, feature your team leaders, gather critical customer feedback, set your company apart from your competitors, and earn "props" from customers for providing them the chance to meet and mingle with their peers.
A customer event is different from your average lunch-and-learn session, or similar educational offerings that many printers have. I'm talking about a special customer event that's as social as it is educational—maybe even more so.
Having spent roughly 10 years producing and emceeing print buyer conferences, boot camps, dinner events and networking sessions, I can tell you that hosting an occasional event for your customers will help you reap rewards that last a long time. And besides, print customers love a good party.
Why Private Events?
Getting print buyers to attend a private event hosted by a printer is easier than getting them to cross the country for a national event. There are three good reasons for this: 1) cost, 2) convenience, and 3) workload issues.
Cost is always an issue. Print buyers are not typically C-suite employees. It's a challenge for them to get budget approval for national events that may be far from home. A private customer event produced by a printer is free for customers. That's a huge plus right there.
The second advantage to a private event is that it's generally convenient for most of your customers. Printers often host the event at their own facility. Alternatively, some rent a venue that's close by. Since most print customers work with printers that are local, the venue will be convenient for customers.