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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.


How a Printer Broke My Heart

We sat next to each other at an industry event, just a small meeting with maybe 30 people. Speakers took the microphone one after the other as we sat at the same round table, he and I, enjoying a nice dinner and learning about cross-media marketing. It was something like the 20th time I’d listened to such a presentation, with a speaker imploring us all to jump on board the Multichannel Train and not be left behind.

I’ve been riding this train for years now and presumed that most everyone in our business was right alongside of me. What do I know?

Anyway, in the interest of learning about my dinner mate that night, I asked about his company—where it was located, what the shop did, and so on. Then I got around to the one question I was dying to ask: How do you promote your services?

“Word of mouth, mostly,” he replied.

Not known for having a poker face, I forced myself to nod, utter a gentle, “Really?” and carry on with dinner. He was with the company owner, and I had never met either of them before. It seemed rather inappropriate to challenge strangers over a plate of chicken and rice. I was too shocked, honest to Pete.

But my heart sank at his words. I so want to believe that service providers in this industry are branching out of pure WOM marketing. To me, getting involved in Web marketing is a no brainer.

You’ve got a website (I hope), right? It’s got a blog or two—or should have.

You have an email newsletter and/or a traditional customer newsletter that you send on a regular basis?

Please, PLEASE say yes.

You take part in LinkedIN Groups, surely—or at the very least, you snoop around a few key ones, seeing what your competition and prospects/customers might be saying.

And from time to time you issue news releases, I’m sure of it. You make sure your prospects get updates about your new processes and equipment, maybe new staff members who bring needed expertise. Perhaps your company supports a local charity or two, and that’s definitely worthy of a release.

You should be thinking of a corporate Facebook page, if only to be present there and post updates every so often. It’s free—just like Twitter and LinkedIN and YouTube are.

Speaking of which, if you’ve an employee who’s especially good in front of a camera, you might be posting mini videos of him or her describing a particular process or application that your market will be impressed by. If you’re a specialty shop—like a finisher, for example—videos are perfect for you!

Direct mail campaigns are no brainers for printers as well. If nothing else, a printed reminder of who you are and what you can do helps market your firm. [Last week I got a jumbo “Thank You” card from my resource for the PBI Boston conference tote bags. I loved it! It put a smile on my face and gave me another reason to recommend his services.]

Here’s my point: word of mouth doesn’t cut it anymore, not in this business. There are so many ways to promote your (our) services, we now have the luxury of being able to pick and choose which ones suit us best.

Don’t go breakin’ my heart. Please pick a few.

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