Baby Steps, Giant Results –Dana
Be thankful for social media. The opportunities that they offer the printing industry to get ever closer to its market are just phenomenal. Too many service providers focus on the negative. Yes, digital media have been taking large bites out of the print spend. Customers are absolutely moving a lot of otherwise printed materials online. Print volumes are down, and digital printing is on the rise.
It's true, it's sobering—but it's not all bad. The popularity of new media, social and otherwise, offers a big, fat silver lining to graphic arts service providers.
If you're active on a few social networking sites, you can continuously learn about your particular market and what the business trends are. You'll find out what prospects and even customers think about communications media. You'll come across people talking about your industry and maybe even your business.
Customers have always had opinions. Until sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were created, these opinions were spoken face-to-face, over the phone or sent by e-mail. There was very little recorded. Now everything's public and sharable.
Service providers must be a part of this virtual soapbox. Those to whom you market your firm are already there, expounding on the pros and cons of one printing process over another, praising printing industry practices (or slamming them), asking for help and recounting experiences they've had as print customers.
This is your chance, as a service provider, to join these conversations. Jump in to be heard, to provide answers, to learn about market trends and to see for yourself who the influencers are.
In no particular order, here are 10 small steps that service providers should take to inch closer and closer to their target markets and print customers.
1) Go toward new media, not away from it. Learn everything you can about your market's tastes, especially those of Gen X and Gen Y customers. Assuming that digital media, especially social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, are only for the fringe and not mainstream business people is a mistake.