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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.


Ask and You Shall Receive

As you crack open that new 2010 calendar (rhetorically speaking, of course), and face the prospect of not knowing what the heck would make your print customers happy — happy enough, that is, to stick with you for the long haul — may I suggest the easiest solution? Ask them.

Ask them how they'd prefer to be communicated with, and when.

Ask them to rate the services you provided in 2009.

Ask them if they'd like help with a particular pet peeve.

Ask them what's changing with their firm's marketing strategy so that you're in-the-know and can offer solutions.

Ask them what other communications media they're interested in, using or hoping to use.

Ask them what one new career-related skill they want to master in 2010.

Ask them if they use your website — why and how?

Ask them what would improve your website?

Ask them what improvements your firm should make in order to serve them better.

Ask them if they're itching to learn a particular print specialty (like VDP or creating pURL campaigns).

Ask them to name one additional service or product that you might realistically offer them.

Ask them if they need more information from you...on anything.

Ask them to name one change in the business relationship that would make them absolutely delighted to work with you.

Ask them to confide their biggest business or career fear.

Remember that it's about their business needs and challenges, not about how well you lay ink down on paper. In my experience, if you ask in an appropriate and professional manner, you will get the answers from your print customers.

Study these answers and compare them across all of your company's customers. The results should tell you what to do next, and lead you in a good and reliable direction.

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