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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.

 

Standout Printers

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When I think about what separates an ordinary printer from a real standout, my mind circles around characteristics and behaviors that don’t even deal with putting ink on a substrate. (Because all customers expect you to do that well, don’t they?)

These days, printing companies that understand print’s changing role in business communications appear to be the headline makers. They have accepted the power and the reality of new media tools that have won the hearts of consumers and corporations. They get it.

Standout printers aren’t in denial. They recognize the seduction of social media, like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and have been participating in them with excitement (if not a well-crafted strategy just yet).

They’re using these media for all the right reasons: to inform, to learn, to spread their own brand, and to meet people who are influencers in related fields. And they’re using them for another simple reason: to avoid being left behind.

They’re testing out new media on themselves and their own firms as they (perhaps) prepare to offer this sort of strategizing to their clients. I love that about them. They’re not using social media for nonstop self-promotion.

Exceptional printing firms make it their business to learn about their customers’ businesses. What are the burning trends and challenges their customers face, and more to the point, what kinds of communications solutions would help them grow or help them solve problems? Standout printers connect these dots for their customers by developing strategies that relieve customers’ pain and, quite often, offer up a healthy dose of dazzling creativity. These solutions may involve only print, but just as likely, they involve other media as well.

You won’t find standout printers’ heads in the sand. They are openly interested in following communication technology trends and are as likely to attend events, conferences and networking meetings that focus on electronic media as those on print media. If it makes sense for a printer to offer services involving other media, these are the printers who will do it. The standouts will surprise all of us when they master email marketing, QR codes, augmented reality, mobile advertising, social media marketing and on and on...and offer these to their market right along with print collateral. I think many customers are waiting for that day to come.

Here are a few more traits I’ve noticed about extraordinary printers. They’re enthusiastic. They’re excited about possibilities in the future. They like discussing other media as much as they jaw about print. They see the overlap among lots of media—maybe integration is a better term here—and they’re full of ideas for their clients. They don’t love print less; they’ve just made room in their roles for more.

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Domenic DiRenzo - Posted on June 12, 2010
Fully Agree, The days of just ink on paper are virtually over! Great Article.
Margie Dana - Posted on June 06, 2010
Thanks for your comments, everyone! I feel strongly that printers (companies, owners, sales reps) need to keep up with new media and jump in. Those who do can experience what their customers are dealing with, get a sense of the attraction - and limitations - and be seen as professionals who are interested in moving ahead, not standing still. Honestly, the headline makers I read about in the trade media are these forward thinkers.
Kelly - Posted on June 05, 2010
I love what you are saying here, Margie, and I totally agree. I have been trying to convince many printers to embrace these emerging technologies; even small ones like blogs and electronic newsletters, as tools that can help AUGMENT what they are already doing. Instead of being afraid, they should dip their toes in and see that it is not so scary to try something new. Great entry!
Brian Driscoll - Posted on June 04, 2010
Hi Margie, I couldn't agree with you more. I have never been so excited to be in the printing business as I have been in the last few months. We have a story to tell and our clients and prospective clients are listening. We are using Facebook and Twitter to get our message out and it seems to be working. Our message is a unique one and we are proud to share it with others.
John Hodgman - Posted on June 04, 2010
Margie's article on "standout printers" hits the nail on the head. Keep up the good work.
Marty Kauls - Posted on June 03, 2010
Hear, hear!
Mary Beth Smith - Posted on June 03, 2010
Well said, Margie! Our industry simply MUST lose the "sibling rivalry" with digital media, and incorporate it into our family of communications solutions, both for our own marketing and as an area of expertise to offer our customers.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Domenic DiRenzo - Posted on June 12, 2010
Fully Agree, The days of just ink on paper are virtually over! Great Article.
Margie Dana - Posted on June 06, 2010
Thanks for your comments, everyone! I feel strongly that printers (companies, owners, sales reps) need to keep up with new media and jump in. Those who do can experience what their customers are dealing with, get a sense of the attraction - and limitations - and be seen as professionals who are interested in moving ahead, not standing still. Honestly, the headline makers I read about in the trade media are these forward thinkers.
Kelly - Posted on June 05, 2010
I love what you are saying here, Margie, and I totally agree. I have been trying to convince many printers to embrace these emerging technologies; even small ones like blogs and electronic newsletters, as tools that can help AUGMENT what they are already doing. Instead of being afraid, they should dip their toes in and see that it is not so scary to try something new. Great entry!
Brian Driscoll - Posted on June 04, 2010
Hi Margie, I couldn't agree with you more. I have never been so excited to be in the printing business as I have been in the last few months. We have a story to tell and our clients and prospective clients are listening. We are using Facebook and Twitter to get our message out and it seems to be working. Our message is a unique one and we are proud to share it with others.
John Hodgman - Posted on June 04, 2010
Margie's article on "standout printers" hits the nail on the head. Keep up the good work.
Marty Kauls - Posted on June 03, 2010
Hear, hear!
Mary Beth Smith - Posted on June 03, 2010
Well said, Margie! Our industry simply MUST lose the "sibling rivalry" with digital media, and incorporate it into our family of communications solutions, both for our own marketing and as an area of expertise to offer our customers.