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President, Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference

Connecting with Print Buyers

By Suzanne Morgan

About Suzanne

Suzanne Morgan is president of the annual Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference ( and Print Buyers, a free educational e-community for print buyers and their print suppliers ( PBO has more than 11,000 members who buy $13 billion a year in printing. PBO conducts weekly research on buying trends and teaches organizations how to work more effectively with their print suppliers.


How important is a printer's collateral material?


April 7, 2009

Below are the results of the latest Print Buyers Weekly Quick Poll survey, which encourages our print buyer and supplier members to share their thoughts on issues that affect the graphic arts industry.

Print Buyer Quick Poll:

How important is a printer's collateral material in identifying them as a prospective supplier?

a) Very important — 30%   
b) Important — 21%   
c) Somewhat Important — 42%   
d) Not important at all — 7%   
(43 major print buyers participated in this Quick Poll survey.)

Printer's Quick Poll:

How important do you think a print buyer views a printer's collateral material in identifying them as a prospective supplier?

a) Very important — 16%   
b) Important — 26%   
c) Somewhat important — 53%   
d) Not important at all — 5%   
(19 major print suppliers participated in this Quick Poll survey.)

Comments from survey participants:

"Other than the first introduction either in person or over the telephone, samples represent the hard work and creativity from the printer. However, a note with each sample should provide a brief explanation of what step did the printer become engaged. All print buyers should critique each and every item from scratches, scuffs, out of register, to hickeys while providing feedback to the sales person. If this does not happen, the salesperson may believe that this will be an easy sell with quality." David Mitchell, Director of Retail & Purchasing, Palace Entertainment
"I find an equipment list the most helpful tool. Everyone claims to have great service and pricing, but if they don't have the equipment to do the job, they really can't be a supplier for you." Sally LeClaire, Dir of Production Services, Promotion Resource Alliance

"I look at this for quality and innovation. If they have a limited portfolio I would most likely not use them."
"Looking at the collateral of printer I learn many things about them such as quality of printing, attention to marketing and ability to work with designers and copywriters."
"All too often, printers don't do enough homework to know the kinds of work their prospects are buying, and fill their folders with samples that miss the mark."
"If they can't even produce a nice piece for themselves, I'm certainly not going to use them!" Pam Stevenson, Production Director, AB&C

"Some printers bring samples with hickeys, bad crossovers, etc. It shows us a lack of attention to detail. They don't get another chance. Really sharp collateral gets the printer's foot in the door."
"Anyone can buy a pretty brochure, but printing technology and knowledge must be learned through experience!" Joe Shondel, President, Selecto-Flash, Inc.

"I have never felt my own collateral did much to win business, but have always felt that buyers would use a flawed or poorly produced brochure to eliminate a prospective printer from consideration. It is better to show up with no brochure than a bad one. Having a first-rate piece of collateral about my company shows that I am a member of the club that cares about quality in print. (I've got a really fine one right now that demonstrates some of our unique capabilities, so it is a tool for me and the prospect.)"  Michael Coyne, Sales Rep, RR Donnelley Hoechstetter
"Most printers will use collateral that shows their attention to detail and quality. High end printers have better designs to choose from then a medium to lower end print vendor so I would not base my opinions solely on the collateral offered up for my inspection. Then again, I have run into vendors that do not understand the poor quality they are showing and in that case, their collateral speaks volumes." Nancy Becker, Print Operations, Pitney Bowes
"This is backward thinking. If all printers believe they are the best, well they have not been down wind. The idea of only using the 'best' equipment should have Print Buyer's falling at their feet, truly should leave the industry. Not only do samples provide journeyman quality, the samples also act as a first impression with capabilities. Not all print buyers understand how to buy print, but based on the polls I can understand why printers want to state the samples are 'Somewhat Important'." David Mitchell, Director of Retail & Purchasing, Palace Entertainment
The views expressed by our members are not necessarily the views of Print Buyers If you have a different take on the subject, share your view by posting a Comment below.

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