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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.

 

Oh, the Humanity! Of Personal Biases and Printing

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We wear ourselves down into puddles of exhaustion dissecting the specific qualities that print customers demand of their print providers—when, in the end, it all comes down to personal biases. Doesn’t it??

Yes, I’m exaggerating to make a point, but no one wants to talk about/blog about/speak about the personal biases that may help you in business, no matter what you’re selling.

You know what I’m talking about: those very personal things about an individual that make them who they are—their history and culture, their pastimes and passions.

In the spirit of transparency, here are some of my own biases:

People from New Jersey
People from Madison, NJ (or at least Morris County)
People who’ve summered at the Jersey Shore
People who’ve summered at Manasquan, specifically Italian Americans
People who went to parochial schools (and lived to tell)
People who love to bake
People who love to bake pies
People who exercise daily
People who love Zumba
People who have dogs
People who have mini poodles
People who have teenage sons
People who are in the printing industry
People who were in the printing industry
People who love movies
People who love the Godfather movies – and Tom Hanks movies
People who love to dance
People who are great at word games
People who have a terrific sense of humor

You’d get to know some of these biases if you were a family member or a good friend. Over time, they’d come out one by one, like stars in a dark summer sky.  When I meet someone who shares one of these biases—or a bias “surfaces” by chance in a conversation—I am absolutely delighted! Then I sink my teeth into it like a dog with a bone. Our conversation takes an immediate detour. A bond has been made.

I know...in a business relationship, where print reps are trying to get a prospect’s attention, personal biases don’t typically reveal themselves for a long time, over numerous conversations or email exchanges.

They really have no place in first meetings. “Hi, I’m Peter with Acme Printing and my wife and I enter salsa dance competitions all summer long. Need any printing today?”

Guess where “getting personal” IS appropriate?  Social media, that’s where. It’s the perfect place! I am learning much more interesting stuff about industry colleagues than I ever knew, or ever would know, if left to emails, phone calls or occasionally bumping into them at trade events.

To wit...

• Peter Muir is a risk taker who’s into triathlons, skydiving and something weird called mudder runs.

• Bill Farquharson is far more than a very tall drink of water who’s a sales coach. He’s got a wicked funny sense of humor.

• John Foley Jr. is a devoted son of John Foley Sr. and not afraid to show it.

• Scott Dubois is a fan of "Mad Men."

Everything I read about my connections on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook adds dimension to what I know about them. Personalities are taking shape every day, giving me insights into the people behind the titles. They’re getting more real to me with every joke they make and every reference to a recent trip with their families.

Whether or not I share their personal preferences isn’t the point—although when it’s clear that there is a match, that someone else loves "Glee" or "The Sopranos," or reading books by the South African writer J. M. Coetzee, I make a mental note. Suddenly that person is more and more like me. And if ever an opportunity arises for doing business together, I’m more open to the possibility.

I’m only human. A door’s been open already. And I’m waiting on the other side to greet someone I think I’m already—or could be—friends with.
 

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Margie Dana - Posted on August 09, 2010
Well, some of these comments are not really constructive - unless they are tongue in cheek. No good can come of bashing printers or print buyers.
Roger Raymond - Posted on August 06, 2010
I secretly hate all print buyers. I hope they all burn in hell.
print buyer - Posted on July 30, 2010
I will not give work to vendor/sales person(s) who pop into my office unannounced looking for business; its very intrusive of my time not to mention creepy. Sales guys STOP calling. You bug the crap out of us and we won't call you back or give you a job to make you go away...
Stephen Eugene Adams - Posted on July 29, 2010
How about people who have to hug you every time they see you...or people who know the lines of every movie made in the last decade.
Lori Keenan - Posted on July 26, 2010
Margie -- Loved this, but you forgot an important bias...people who have crazy hair!
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Margie Dana - Posted on August 09, 2010
Well, some of these comments are not really constructive - unless they are tongue in cheek. No good can come of bashing printers or print buyers.
Roger Raymond - Posted on August 06, 2010
I secretly hate all print buyers. I hope they all burn in hell.
print buyer - Posted on July 30, 2010
I will not give work to vendor/sales person(s) who pop into my office unannounced looking for business; its very intrusive of my time not to mention creepy. Sales guys STOP calling. You bug the crap out of us and we won't call you back or give you a job to make you go away...
Stephen Eugene Adams - Posted on July 29, 2010
How about people who have to hug you every time they see you...or people who know the lines of every movie made in the last decade.
Lori Keenan - Posted on July 26, 2010
Margie -- Loved this, but you forgot an important bias...people who have crazy hair!