Truths from the Trenches –Dana
Bring me ease and peace of mind.
Have expert pressmen.
Specialize in distribution.
Other reasons given for why print buyers might choose Printer A over Printer B? Some answers might surprise you:
Delivery drivers should be clean and courteous; if they come in covered head to toe in dirt, we don't want them touching our boxes or coming into our offices; they should wear a uniform (polo shirt and shorts).
Have a clean and organized facility.
We have 10-15 jobs going on at once; we just try to spread the work around.
If you have been doing this for a while, you have a gut feeling about who can do it.
Experience—we want to work with a company that does printing for our type of business (retail).
Interaction with pressmen—are they treating me courteously on press checks or not?
Another key question I posed to this group is one I always ask: Do you choose your printer based on technologies and equipment? The responses at this particular event were fairly consistent to what we've heard in the past:
Yes, we've migrated to digital printing, so we need to know what kind of digital equipment a printer has so he can print, ship and distribute our jobs.
We always ask for a printer's equipment list and what is actually in-house vs. outsourced.
We have prospective printers do a print test. Our corporate colors are black and yellow—but you'd be shocked at the samples that don't meet our standards.
We print large volumes of jobs, so we ask prospects about locations.
We're concerned about less freight and more "green" printing.
The key takeaways for me that day are these: print customers want more education and information on new technologies. No matter how much their roles evolve or how much work is shifting from offset to digital and/or print to e-media, customers need this education regularly. They are finding ways to keep up with print technologies and applications, but it's an inconsistent education. They go to their own printers first. They reach out to their peers. They're using LinkedIn (much more than Twitter). They applaud the paper companies for the quality and breadth of their customer education.