Take a Different Tack to Beat the Price Trap

It seems that the concept of thinking differently and focusing on customer-centric communications hit the spot. When I returned from speaking at the Dscoop6 conference and the Marine Marketers Annual Meeting—both held in sunny and warm Florida—I had a number of calls and e-mails that offered commentary on the concepts presented in my last blog entry.

Overall, the comments supported the idea and the need to think differently (90 percent in favor, 5 percent against and the balance undefined), but nearly everyone asked, How?

• How can they think differently when price drives every discussion?

• How can they offer customer centric communication when they don’t know what that means?

Agreed—very good questions, very interesting insight and the potential for discussion is clear.

My reply to the price is issue is, Why do they, the printer, let price become the discussion point? At Dscoop6, NAPL’s Andy Paparozzi mentioned in his presentation that when printers ADDED services they did NOT see an upward trend in business, but when printers INTEGRATED new services, they realized a gain across the board.

Here is the statement directly from Andy: “They (printers) knew from the outset that variable-content digital, database-management; one-to-one cross-media marketing programs, fulfillment, etc. were new businesses, not simply extensions of their core lithographic businesses…The winners have integrated their services into a compelling value proposition that helps clients communicate more effectively with their clients. Companies that simply add without integrating are no more insulated from commoditization than when they were offering ink-on-paper alone.”

As I see it, talking price is like adding services—a standalone idea that does not have much worth. But when you integrate the price discussion with a FULL line of customer-centric services, you can redirect the course of the discussion.

Last year, I was assigned to develop a study regarding print buyers and why and how they select printers. The survey was for a local group of printers in a market that drew on the New York City metro area, but the survey base was national in scope. What I discovered was that price was the fourth item of importance as to why a print buyer selected a printer. The third reason was added value and integrated capabilities; providing a better value to the print buyer.

Thaddeus B. Kubis is an integrated marketing communications, media convergence, and experiential marketing evangelist.

A passionate believer in the integration of all online and offline media, inter-digital integration, unified communications, the measurement and ROMI of any marketing program based on results, Thad acts as profit advocate for his myriad of clients.
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  • http://Julio Julio

    Very interesting article. I want to read again and memorize the key points to share with distributors… good advice in these times. Regards, Julio Pérez (Barcelona)

  • http://ThaddeusBKubis Thaddeus B Kubis


    I am pleased that you found the article very interesting, the time has come for printers to integrate their service offerings into the bigger part of the marketing pie.

    Let me know if I can help.