Helping the Freshman Class of Customers

Like a dog with a bone, I’m stuck on one idea lately—how to help provide print education to new corporate customers. I’m talking about the production, creative, marketing and print buying pros who’ve entered the field within the last year or so.

Aren’t these newbies just like the members of every other “freshman class” who came before them…learning the ropes of print buying and paper by specifying one job at a time? I don’t see why this isn’t true. Do you?

Unless they’re lucky enough to be working under the tutelage of managers or senior-level colleagues, they are out there on their own. Believe me, it’s overwhelming.

I have started a project and would love your help. I want to interview these new print buying professionals to discover
how they’re learning about

  • printers and printing,
  • paper and color issues,
  • digital vs. offset,
  • ecommerce vs. brick-and-mortar printers,
  • and so on.

How much do they depend on the Web? Who influences them? How are they using social media for their jobs? The list goes on.

These pros work in departments such as marketing, communications, publications, creative/design and purchasing. They have clocked about a year or less in their current position, and they have no background in printing or the graphic arts.

I’ve started to do phone interviews this week. What I’m hearing fascinates me. What I am learning will, I believe, yield information that will enable all of us serve them better. I plan on sharing what I learn, both here and in my “Print Tips” newsletter.

BTW, I’m promising everyone I interview that I’ll keep them anonymous.

If you would like to learn more about how this freshman class of print customers operates—how they source print, how they feel about print, where they get their information from, who influences them, and so on—please help me find potential interview candidates. What I learn from them will yield insights that can spark new services or generate changes in how the graphic arts industry communicates with newcomers.

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
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  • David Cole

    That is a great idea Margie! I have never thought to do something like that. When I first started in the industry in 2007 it took me a long time to get used to a lot of the terminology, what paper when, and everything else. I will try to start doing the same thing.

    I look forward to seeing your results and will be glad to share any I have.