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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.


Follow the Marketers, not Your Peers

If you ask me, printers spend too much time with other printers. They need to get outside of the industry and go where the marketers are.

It seems to me that successful printing companies are expanding their services into additional marketing areas, such as on-demand messaging, integrated marketing efforts, real-time marketing, email marketing, and so on. Print is still a component of most marketing plans—sometimes it’s featured; sometimes it plays a supporting role.

Without appreciating all of the marketing technologies available to customers, printers can’t be in very good position to serve them. There are two fine professional associations that printers should become involved in: The Direct Marketing Assn. (DMA) and the American Marketing Assn. (AMA).

I happen to be a member of the local chapters of each group, and their programs are generally excellent avenues for learning what’s new and for identifying marketing trends. While I do see some printers in the audience at these marketing events, they are few and far between.

Check out the DMA’s website. It is “the world’s largest trade association dedicated to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing,” according to the site. DMA’s next annual conference is scheduled for Oct. 12-17 2013, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

DMA also has an Email Evolution Conference slated for next February in Miami Beach. Here are a few session topics; decide for yourself if they’re relevant to print companies or not:
  • Integration & Cross Channel Marketing,
  • Building a Content Machine,
  • Emails We Love, and
  • Segmentation Strategies Across Channels.

I wish I could go.

The AMA’s website currently does’t have information on a 2013 annual national conference, but there is a calendar showing tons of other smaller events of all kinds.

Printers already have strong customer relationships—this is a definite strength! As you move into 2013, build on those relationships. Sit down with key customers (even a group of them, that could be really effective) to learn where they’re headed in terms of marketing their companies’ products. Listen to them. Ask them questions about marketing channels. They’ll guide you.

I don’t think the answer to success in the print industry has anything to do with new equipment or speed of delivery. It’s much bigger than that. We need to identify, understand and follow marketing trends, and track how information is shared and consumed. Since the dynamics keeps changing, we have no time to waste.

Make it a resolution for 2013 to get ahead of your competition.

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