Printing Impressions

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Founder, Print Buyers International (PBI)

Margie's Buyer Insights

By Margie Dana

About Margie

Margie Dana, a former print buyer, is the founder of Print Buyers International (PBI) and its member-based organization, Boston Print Buyers. These professional organizations cater to print customers worldwide through education, an annual buyers conference, Print Buyer Boot Camps, and networking opportunities.

Margie's perhaps best known for her weekly enewsletter, Margie's Print Tips, which she's published weekly since 1999 in an effort to build bridges in the industry. For years, Margie has been a popular speaker at industry events here and abroad. Her clients include print company executives who rely on her to help steer their marketing campaigns and make their online efforts more customer friendly.

 

Dear Printers: Where WERE You?

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Year after year, we offer print buyer programs at Graph Expo in Chicago—and at our own PBI conference here in New England. Yet very few printers show up.

Seriously, I don’t get it. Everyone’s welcome to attend these events. I guess it’s not clear. Recently we welcomed about 50 senior-level print buyers at Graph Expo in Chicago, where they took part in the Print Buyer Forum over two days. Another 50 attended our basic Print Buyer Boot Camp!™ the previous day.

A handful of print providers were in the audience—and were welcomed there. From what I could tell, they were thanking their lucky stars that they were a part of the discussions, which covered a lot of ground:

• Doing press OKs and how to talk to press operators.
• What to look for when doing a printing plant tour.
• How to choose the best printers for what you need.
• The challenges print buyers face within their own organizations.
• The evolution of the corporate print buyer.
• Software tools favored by print buyers to help manage their work.
• “Vendor report cards” and “onboarding” procedures.
• The effect of cross-media’s popularity on print buyers’ roles.
• Buyers and print brokers.
• The value of a printer’s equipment lists.
• Best buyer resources in 2010.
• Becoming more influential as print buyers.

Believe me, this is just a short list of what we covered over three days in Chicago. It’s a no brainer that being present at these sessions and contributing to the conversation was helpful to the buyers there.

But wouldn’t this experience be equally valuable to print company owners, sales reps and suppliers? Even if you didn’t contribute, you’d get a great education in “Print Customers in 2010” by just sitting there and listening...listening to customers talk.

These print customers didn’t vent. They didn’t complain. They didn’t dump on printers. This year's group impressed me in this regard: they averaged 20 years in the field. They take their jobs seriously. They view printers as partners.

I don’t get why more printers don’t take advantage of these opportunities. Think of what you’d have learned if you’d joined us this month in Chicago!

I’m guessing that the printers who were in the audience came away with loads of insights to make them more responsive to their customers and, therefore, more successful. Good for them.

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Margie Dana - Posted on October 12, 2010
Larry, Thanks loads for this point. As clear as I think we are in our site copy and promotional offers, you might be right in that service providers don't really know that they are welcome. Every year, we do get a handful in the audience, but from now on I will take your suggestion to heart and do a better job of communicating this. In our Brainstorming session, which is "mine" to run, we welcome and actively encourage comments from everyone - including providers. Thanks again. I really appreciate your point. MD
Larry Bauer - Posted on October 12, 2010
Perhaps you need to make a clearer case that printers aren't intruders, and even include some topics that invite both groups to participate in the discussion. I can understand how printers might feel uncomfortable.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Margie Dana - Posted on October 12, 2010
Larry, Thanks loads for this point. As clear as I think we are in our site copy and promotional offers, you might be right in that service providers don't really know that they are welcome. Every year, we do get a handful in the audience, but from now on I will take your suggestion to heart and do a better job of communicating this. In our Brainstorming session, which is "mine" to run, we welcome and actively encourage comments from everyone - including providers. Thanks again. I really appreciate your point. MD
Larry Bauer - Posted on October 12, 2010
Perhaps you need to make a clearer case that printers aren't intruders, and even include some topics that invite both groups to participate in the discussion. I can understand how printers might feel uncomfortable.