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About Clay

Clay's recruiting and strategic consulting efforts over the past 20 years have provided firms in the printing and communications industries the talent and perspective that has enabled them to navigate the constant change they’ve faced.

His current company, the bleedingEDGE, provides digital printing firms with 1:1 marketing solutions that enable their small- and medium-sized clients to compete with larger competitors using a cooperative strategy and production model. In addition to the normal 1:1 marketing techniques of personalization and customization, the bleedingEDGE incorporates timing strategies, generational analysis and sociological factors in producing results well above the norm.

 

Give and Give, Then Give Some More - a Path to Revenue Growth

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Over the last couple of months, I’ve had a pretty negative tone to my ramblings. “The status quo in the print industry won’t work and if you don’t change, then your company is dead.” And I’ve gotten comments—positive and negative—both here and personally. They’ve been either, “It’s blasphemy not to wave the flag.” or “Yea, that’s the game; it’s all about the Internet.”

Well...I’m done with the negativity. Now it’s all about solutions. Print is going to stay. The question is: What is it going to take for your firm to be one of those that makes the cut? I’m going try to throw out some ideas over the next couple of weeks...here’s the first one.

Hire a CGO—a Chief Giving Officer. That person’s job is to figure out and nurture ways your company can give. And I’m not talking about “giving back.” I’m talking about giving regardless if you’ve received.

I saw this banner on a gas station in West LA yesterday: “We give 20% of all our proceeds on Tuesdays to the Simon Wiesenthall Center for Tolerance.” I’m not a Jew and I don’t care if they have the best gas prices in town, but I’m still going there. They’re giving, they’re trying to be part of the solution—and I want to patronize a firm with that attitude.

People do business with people and companies they like and respect. The little bit I can save getting the best deal pales in comparison to helping someone who’s out there for the greater good. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. All your capabilities and “stuff” is not “the be all and end all.” Make your firm one that if I don’t do business with, then I’ll feel guilty. There are always “work arounds” for capabilities.

Giving, corporate style, can be take two different forms:

1. Give to existing causes, like my example above. This is nice, but an easy out. Unless your clients and target markets identify with the cause, the act of giving probably won’t resonate, except for its symbolic value.

2. Create your own causes. This is where the CGO comes in. Remember, most of your business is local. Local in the sense that your customers share the same “away from work” issues that you do. It’s their community too.

Imagine if your firm were seen as a major player in helping make your neighborhood better. Don’t just give to the Salvation Army, for example. Organize “ground crews” where you can solve local problems. Ground crews that are led by your employees and your clients.

Given the chance, you will be amazed at what happens. Buyers, who you have to go down a gauntlet to see, will be standing hand in hand with you—helping the homeless, working in a mentoring program (that you built) or even cleaning a public neighborhood park and fixing its playground.

This isn’t about selling printing, and it’s not about any of the other services I’ve advocated over the last couple months. It’s about getting to the core of human motivation and what makes us tick.

I have to believe we all, or at least most of us, want what’s good for all us. Call me an idealist.

If your truly believe as well, then why not demonstrate it in your company? Make giving such an integral part of your culture that without it, your company...well, it isn’t your company. Make it what your firm is all about.

Now this perspective may sound crazy...and maybe it is. It’s not like Groupon where group buying and half-off is all the rage. It’s not about advertising on Facebook, or tweeting till your figures bleed.

What it’s about is being a person, being a company that people feel proud to do business with. And worst case, you’ll sure feel better about yourself.

Please throw in your 2 cents worth—yea or nea—by posting a Comment. Share your ideas on giving and making it a marketing priority and a business strategy.

If you want more on me or my company, check out one of my other posts. You should find. the info there.
 

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Jared - Posted on February 09, 2011
Giving back is such a great thing to do it almost shouldn't need it's own post. Common good will for others is still alive, albeit it seems less today than even 10 years ago, and your company should find something relevant to donate either it's time, product, or money to. If you are able to encourage this type of behavior company wide then it will not only help your company's name get recognized, your work environment will be more unified and productive as well. So congratulations to you Clay on nipping the negativity plant in the bud!
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Archived Comments:
Jared - Posted on February 09, 2011
Giving back is such a great thing to do it almost shouldn't need it's own post. Common good will for others is still alive, albeit it seems less today than even 10 years ago, and your company should find something relevant to donate either it's time, product, or money to. If you are able to encourage this type of behavior company wide then it will not only help your company's name get recognized, your work environment will be more unified and productive as well. So congratulations to you Clay on nipping the negativity plant in the bud!