Dan the Print Buyer is Cutting $30K from Print Budget

Are you ready when your Dan does this? Here is Print Buyer Dan’s post today to his 30,000 peers who are on a listserv with me. Pretty scary stuff if you only offer print and mailing services. I did not add or subtract one word from this post. Take it for what it is worth.

May 19, 2011 post:
We’re looking to save about $30,000 annually by drastically cutting back on the number of printed mailings that we do for our 11 chapters. They collectively run 50+ seminars annually, but we believe that we can maintain or increase attendance using electronic communication almost exclusively. One of our chapters voluntarily agreed to suspend print mailings this past year and saw no decrease in attendance.

I’m presenting my proposal to all the chapters in about one month. So, my questions are, has anyone gone down this road before and what were the results and does anyone have a template for this type of proposal?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Darn it Dan! Why can’t you just quietly cut volumes and not educate your peers and push print volumes down faster? Seriously, posts like this are a daily occurrence today. We all better get our heads out of the sand and diversify or aggressively take from competitors.

The writing is on the wall. Print volumes will continue to drop and Dan is not helping with his promotion and suggestions to cut print! Only printers who embrace change will succeed. If you are reading this, you are probably not near retirement and still in the game and want to stay in business.

How is Dan’s printer going to digest a loss of $30,000 in revenue unless it is taking print from its competitors at a faster rate, buying out weaker printers, or diversifying to help this association client with an overall marketing plan to drive attendance as a strategic marketing partner? Pick your strategy and position yourself to ride the wave of change.

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.
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  • Mike Casey

    Good point David. Maybe I am jaded from hearing all the complaints from printers saying their sales are still way off where they thought they would be after recession ended. I am seeing many successful printers buying out their weaker competitors or just beating the pants off the competition with customer service and responsiveness as so many printers cut back their sales and service staff during the recession. Sorry for painting a picture that may not be for everyone, but with volumes dropping 20% that has to make it more challenging for some who were already hanging on by their fingernails!

  • Glen Nemeroff

    5 years ago I had one of the major (top 3) health insurers tell me something along the same line. I jumped into action and created a program call ProviderPreference (doctors could choose how to receive communications from the insurer. (email, fax or traditional print mail) 5 years of database management, web portal $210,000, emails created and sent at $50.00 per thousand. Provided robust reporting, print/mail to failed emails. Maintained a run rate of 180 to 220k monthly revenue. Moral of the story….make lemonade when they give you lemons. And, create a program that is next to impossible to unravel or have a competitor come in and undue.

  • David Pilcher

    Many customers still see the value in print even while reducing the amount of products they print and mail (also saving postage costs). Printers today have to be tooled to be able to handle the shorter runs while providing the best quality and technology. Just because a customer is cutting back doesn’t mean he’s completely walking away from print. As a printer, we continue to sign up small and medium size publishers. Don’t forget the print industry in the US is around $80 billion dollars. . . down 20% from a few years ago (many industries are down significantly in this economy). . . but still a very large pool of customers to produce quality print products for annually.

    I believe a printer can still be just a printer if they have the right technology and equipment for the market they are trying to serve. There is a demand for print that needs to be met. We’d like to be the ones meeting that current demand. I don’t want to speculate on the future – we have 160 employees and over 300 customers to serve today and plan on tripling that in the next 5 to 10 years. Sure, print will a smaller industry in the future but we only want a small piece of the total industry. I think that’s realistic for our success.

  • ctpennysaver.com

    A national retailer in January eliminated their postcard campaign with us and reallocated those dollars to digital. The results were devastating to their business. They were back in the mail in March. According to the regional manager, they have continued with the digital campaign, but the redemption rate is minuscule.

  • Mike Casey

    Great points CTPenny Saver and Glen Nemeroff,

    I was at a print owner conference this week where several printers were saying the same thing. Customers moved from print to email and online content and the results hurt them badly and they came running back to print. I like Glen’s idea to make lemonade if that is what they want, AND you can deliver so you cover all bases when they come back. For smaller printers it is a challenge to be all things in this area as Glen did, but vendors are responding to make it easier to do without hiring in-house talent.