Margie's Buyer Insights

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit or e-mail Margie at

The question about print customers and a printer’s equipment list comes up often, as it did last week on the webinar I participated in. During that event, I brought this up because it’s significant. In the recent study I did with John Zarwan, in which we collected data from 315 professional print buyers, 73 percent of those surveyed said that a printer’s equipment influences their selection of print partners—at least some of the time.

Here’s one way to impress seasoned print buyers: tell them how you recovered from your mistakes. That’s right, when every other printing company is tripping over itself, trying to land on the most glowing terms to showcase their fantastic quality and service, you do the opposite. Go left.

Your customers don’t visit your site unless you have an ecommerce or file-sharing functionality they use. Your site is for prospects. Many are looking for your exact services. Your name came up in conversation, or they found you from something they read or saw online. They clicked on your site to check you out. What will they find there?

Having been there, I’ll testify to the fact that print customers have left printers because they get unacceptable treatment. Too often, they’d much rather switch than fight. The reality is, customers like coddling, whether we’re guests at a hotel, diners at a restaurant, or clients of a printer.

Being upfront with your print customers usually works best. If a proof is running late, or a delivery date can't realistically be met, or that special paper hasn't yet arrived, don’t hide it. Tell your customers. They’d rather find out there’s a potential complication and hear how you’re resolving it than find out after the fact that you knew all the while there was trouble brewing.

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