Dear Printers: Where WERE You?
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.