Spotting a Print Buyer by Title

I recently spoke on “The New Rules of Print Buying” at PIA/SD’s (Printing Industries Association of San Diego) PIA Expo 2011 event. A comment made by an attendee later that day made a big impression.

“We don’t deal with print buyers,” this print company executive remarked, “we deal with production managers.”

Hmm…Had I failed to specify what I meant by “print buyer?” I must have. All this time, I thought it was clear, but evidently not.

On the way home, as I sat (and sat) at O’Hare for a plane back to Boston that was delayed by two hours (file under, What else is new?), I wrote a new Print Tip about this very thing: what we mean by “print buyers.”

That Tip is still percolating; I’ll publish it soon enough.

I just needed to get this off my chest—print buying is a description of a function performed by a wide range of employees; it’s a catchall phrase.

Most professionals who perform the function don’t have the title “print buyer.” But because the job titles are all over the map, I/we define them all using “print buyer.”

So I thought it would be interesting for me—and you—if I jotted down a bunch of titles of people in our exclusive Print Buyers International Group on LinkedIn. This group is for print customers only: buyers, designers and marcom pros who source print or who influence the decision to source print. Service providers aren’t eligible to join the PBI LinkedIn Group by design and by vote. Sorry.

Here’s a short list of members’ titles:

Assistant Vice President, Creative
Marketing Project Manager
Print Production Coordinator
Communications Project Leader
PBS Production Analyst
Production Manager
Director, Marketing & Operations
Print Producer
Senior Print Buyer (bingo!)
Promotions Director
Director, Publishing Services Bureau
Marketing Project Manager
Communications Project Leader
Creative Project & Print Production Manager
Marketing Production Manager
Manufacturing and Production Manager
Senior Print Producer
Marketing Materials Buyer
Production Coordinator
Print Analyst
Creative Director

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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  • http://youknowmyname youknowmyname

    I guess those titles work for the really really large companies (100,000+ employees) as I deal with folks that make the printing decisions with such titles as:

    * Executive Director
    * Communications Director/Manager
    * Graphic Designer/Manager
    * Marketing Director/Manager
    * Development Director/Manager
    * Technology Director/Manager
    * CEO
    * Office Manager

  • http://MargieDana Margie Dana

    Dear youknowmyname,

    No, it’s not true that those titles (only a few examples, remember) are for people with really, really big firms. Firms of all sizes, actually. My point is that titles for people-who-source-printing are all over the map. The ones you showed are also common. thanks for sharing!

  • http://onyourmailinglist onyourmailing list

    I earned a title ‘print buyer’ 2 years ago, and since then my role and responsibility are print buyer first; fulfillment specialist 2nd.

    I’m interested to know a clear print buyer’s job description?

  • http://LarryPrill Larry Prill

    Am I a “print buyer” ? I buy and resell printing (broker).

  • http://MargieDana Margie Dana


    You asked me a key question: is a print broker considered a print buyer. You won’t like me for this…no, you’re not.

    Print brokers compete with print providers – in the eyes of corporate/agency print buyers, you’re all print providers.

    I don’t know any print broker who, when asked what he or she does for a living, would answer, “I’m a print buyer.”

    Now, if you worked for a print management firm and asked me the same question, I’d have a different answer. In my opinion, print managers are buyers. They replace on-staff print buying professionals for a company.


  • http://SeasonedPassionatePro SeasonedPassionatePro

    You just hit a nerve! Many people fall under the guise of “Print Buyer” nowadays. Out of all the job titles how many can actually say print buying/production is their primary responsibility?

    Often, once the actual print buyer leaves the company or they never had a buyer to begin with, the job falls upon someone who is not necessarily a print pro. This person can be anyone from the designer to an administrative assistant where print production is just a sidebar.

    Many times the printer covers the skills lost and the company has no need to hire a “print buyer” specifically (so they erroneously think). It undervalues our worth. Maybe another print tip from Margie?!

  • http://JR JR

    How about this – Collateral Production Manager. I never used this term “collateral” until I landed the job several years ago.

  • Justin Ranton

    This whole discussion can be answered with one question.

    "Good morning, who coordinates your print procurement?"