Print Buyers and Equipment Lists
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. You can still sign up to watch the Webinar on-demand by clicking here.
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.
This was particularly true for more experienced print customers. The less experienced buyers are much less interested in what printers have 'on the floor.' This makes sense. Most of them don’t know manufacturing equipment. What they care about is your ability to deliver the goods—a combination of print quality and good service, at the price they agreed to pay, and delivered when promised.
In our study, we didn’t drill down to ask specifically whether customers pay attention to presses, primarily, or if they’re influenced by other equipment—like prepress, finishing, and mailing/fulfillment.
Here’s my take.
The veteran print customers are more likely to know what equipment is needed to handle their jobs. When considering a prospective printer, they’ll go to your website and check out your list. If they need a provider who can do a ton of variable direct mail work, for example, they’ll see if you can handle it. They’ll look at your digital presses and your mailing capabilities.
Now, will they automatically discount you if they don’t see what they’re looking for? Maybe. It really depends on the person.
Keep in mind that many senior-level print customers have experience in print manufacturing. They are sophisticated and astute businesspeople. For this reason, I always recommend that printers post equipment on their site, and if it’s not the usual laundry list of make-and-model, at least it should be a decent description of what you can do—in terms that satisfy a senior buyer looking at your capabilities. Make sense?
Some printers have told me that they simply don’t want to post their equipment. Maybe it’s sharing too much information that their competition can see and use against them? Not sure.
At any rate, knowing that senior print customers are influenced by your equipment would suggest that you make it available.
I’d love to hear your comments on this.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com