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Michael Casey

Pressing Ahead

By Michael Casey

About Michael

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.

Walking the Marketing Talk with Client Surveys

Have you asked your active and inactive customers how you are doing, or what they need in the future? If you haven’t, you may want to reach out and ask.

What better way to show you are not just a printer, but a marketing partner. What a great way to show clients you can help them with their marketing plans and be a partner in their boardrooms.

As you push into value-added services such as strategic marketing planning, creative design services, Website development, personalized URL campaigns, and e-blast programs, you will need to prove you have your own house in order when it comes to marketing strategy and multimedia techniques.

Any strategic planning book stresses that the first step is analyzing customer and marketing data to make more grounded decisions. Well, why not reach out to your customers and ask them strategic questions? Position the survey as a planning tool to help you serve them better.

Look at each survey as a gift and a roadmap for when you meet with each customer to plan together. The survey results and trends will help you have more meaningful, focused planning meetings with your customers and staff.

A well-designed, annual strategic survey typically yields around a 30 percent response rate, but can reach over 50 percent depending on your customer relationships. This information is invaluable to connect at an individual level, as well as uncover trends when planning. Here are a few topics to consider:

• Areas of improvement for next year.

• Services to consider rolling out.

• Consideration of non-print related services.

• Sourcing of additional marketing/print services.

• Percentage of business awarded to you.

• Awareness of different services you offer.

• Quality of products and services.

• Marketing budget breakdowns.

• Supplier decision-making processes.

• Marketing communications effectiveness.

Customers will share with you, if you ask in a thoughtful way. Take the time to do it right. Customers will appreciate this, and they might even ask you to help them do the same with their customers.

Think about the value to them in doing a survey of their customers. By understanding your client’s customer base, you’ll become more knowledgeable about their business, become enthusiastic about the growth opportunities and better serve them. It is the best way to become a strategic marketing partner, rather than the third print vendor on their RFQ list.

Connect with your customers early, change the game and position yourself above the competition. It starts with putting your house in order, so consider running an annual survey to build the foundation.

Good luck.

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