Print Buyers Give Printers Failing Grades in How They Differentiate Themselves from Their Competition
Print buyers said that when it comes to creating differentiation from themselves and their competition, most printers get failing grades. Over 72 top print buyers rated print suppliers in last week’s Print Buyers Online.com Quick Poll. When asked “Please rate how effective you believe print suppliers are at communicating meaningful differentiation from their competition”, respondents were critical with 54% rating printers as “fair” and 21% as “poor.” Only a quarter of the respondents were more positive about printers’ efforts with 10% saying “very good” and 14% saying “good.” Only 1% of buyers said that most printers are “excellent.”
From the print buyer’s point of view, sales representatives bear the burden of communicating differentiation, although a printer’s brand and marketing efforts (or lack thereof) do play a major role. One buyer shares his frustrations with sales reps with this comment:
”Print sales folks seem to all have learned from the same textbook. They are stuck on the ‘we pride ourselves in giving the best service, quality and prices—just give us a chance and we’ll prove it to you’ message (or variations thereof). Ask them to tell how they are different from everyone else that says that, and they’ll list a bunch of customers who they say think they are better—and funny how the same companies show up on almost every list! Their idea of explaining how they are different seems to consist of expecting me to give them some work so I can find out for myself. Figure out some REAL answers to the question, people!”
Another buyer concurs by saying, “I think most salespeople fall short in this category, which is why trying a new vendor is often an unnerving experience.”
Pat Benson, Print Production Manager with Ingram Book Co. sums up the complaint of many print buyers by saying, ”The majority of salespeople don’t have a good grasp of their own plant’s capabilities and so they are unable to really project their strengths in light of the competition. Every company has good people, good equipment, and is committed to excellence. So what? Tell me what’s different about the company and why should I purchase printing there?”
So what’s a printer to do (or in the end does it really just come down to price)? What should salespeople, and management, being doing to set their companies apart in the marketplace? Please use the “Post a Comment” feature below to join the discussion and share your thoughts.