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What Print Buyers Want -- If Printers Only Knew

October 2008 By Cheryl Adams
Managing Editor
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IT'S THE $60 million question. What do print buyers want? If print providers only knew...

With the first installment in an exclusive series of articles, Printing Impressions went right to the source and asked several print buyers for their open, honest opinions. Interestingly, all of them were more than willing to provide no-nonsense insight into what they expect from their print providers, as well as what turns them on (and off) and how to win (or lose) their print business.

Our panel of print buyers were asked to provide answers based on the understanding that offering a quality product, excellent customer service, quick turnaround and
a fair price are "a given."

That said, here are revealing responses from Cathy Van Order, production manager with the Pinckney Hugo Group, a Syracuse, NY-based, full-service marketing communications agency that purchases approximately $3 million in sheetfed, web and digital printing each year.

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

Size and location--The size of the company plays a large role in my decision to use a printer or not. If the CSR, estimator, salesperson and press are located in four different places, I'd have to think hard about using them for most of our projects. I prefer medium-sized printers. I like to go on press checks for key projects, so I have to keep the geographic location in mind. 

Proven track record--I prefer to get recommendations from other buyers before pursuing a new vendor. I also like to get samples or case studies of similar projects, especially for projects with difficult finishing work or variable data printing.

Compatibility with the staff--I have to be able to envision myself working with the staff, either CSR or salesperson, every day for the length of the project. If it isn't a good match, it just won't work. There needs to be a connection of sorts in order to build a good relationship. 

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

Honesty--Tell me the truth when problems sugar coating. If you can't make a deadline for whatever reason, call and tell me. Don't wait until it is too late for me to alert our internal teams and the client. And no false promises; they only lead to problems for everyone.



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