Nobody Puts Print Buyers in a Corner

Professional print buyers are too often underestimated.

I’m not talking about newcomers who’ve yet to learn the business. Give them time.

I’m not talking about occasional print buyers who are asked by a manager (usually against their will) to get something printed a few times a year.

And I am most certainly not talking about employees who handle print buying for their firms, but who never “majored” in print—and never plan to. The print-related part of their job is minor and treated like an annoyance. Or a hot potato. They never owned a copy of “Pocket Pal” and never will. They do not go to print buyer events. They don’t admit to handling print work. They wish print would die already.

No, I’m talking about the pros. They have at least seven years’ experience and are grounded in print. Many have manufacturing experience. They are responsible for millions in print spend annually. They’re not sitting still, pretending the world of communications isn’t changing. They know it’s changing. Their jobs are changing with it.

While they still handle a significant amount of print responsibilities, their roles have expanded over the past few years.

Some handle HTML work. Some have social media involvement. There’s video production. Data asset management. Promotional products. Web content development. Mobile computing. A variety of cross-media applications.

They are content specialists—or as one of the senior-level pro put it at our PBI Conference last week: content purveyors. It is at once lyrical and practical. Today’s professional print buyers are given ‘content’ and asked to publish it in any number of ways—in print, on the Web, maybe turn it into an audio clip or add it to the corporate blog. Perhaps it’s fodder for a QR (Quick Response) code campaign.

So many options translate into so much opportunity for today’s professional print buyers. They are not pencil-pushing bean counters. They are educating themselves about new media and other ways to help their firms market their products. They are respected and consulted. They may be part of a company’s back office operations, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have clout and influence.

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://BillFarquharson Bill Farquharson

    Great piece on blog title alone!!!