Marketing Digital Services--Success Strategies
BY CAROLINE MILLER
Digital Prinitng is poised to become one of the most powerful tools available to marketers.
However, there's one problem. Many of your clients don't fully understand how digital printing can be beneficial to their businesses. It's a hurdle that any digital print provider needs to clear before it can become profitable. But an effective digital print marketing strategy can go a long way to clearing the profitability obstacle. Still, marketing digital printing services requires you to take a different approach than you might with traditional offset printing. Marketing your digital capabilities requires educating your clients about the benefits of digital and also requires a different level of support.
So, in order to help you hit the mark, two commercial printers recently shared with Printing Impressions how they have marketed their digital capabilities successfully along side their traditional offset presses.
Develop a Brand Name
When executives at Dallas-based Padgett Printing made the move into variable data, digital color printing, they knew they needed to different-iate themselves from other digital printers. One of the ways Padgett found to set itself apart from its digital competitors in customers' minds was to develop a brand name.
The result was the creation of Maestro, which is marketed under Maestro Marketing Solution, a division of Padgett Printing. By developing a brand name, Padgett, a Xeikon user, felt it would provide them with a uniform approach to selling digital printing, explains David Torok, Padgett president and CEO. It also ensures that by using the brand name Maestro, everyone is on the same page when it comes to the product's expectations.
"The Maestro name represents a level of excellence, a level of dependability and the vision that we bring to the marketplace," remarks Retha Petruzates, Maestro's marketing director. "We are assisting our customers in orchestrating their variable data projects. We are bringing a level of expertise to clients, through a nurturing relationship."
Educate the Client
Educating a client about digital printing is the most important task a printer has when it first meets with a customer. One of the most effective ways to drive home the message of digital printing is for them to experience it first-hand, states Petruzates. "It's really when the customer experiences it for himself that we get the 'Ah-ha' moment."
During its initial presentation, Padgett often includes logos, company pictures, as well as tries to integrate the company's mission or CEO's vision into the presentation. "On our first contact, we try to personalize it as much as possible—to show them that the presentation was designed especially for them," reveals Torok.
While the power of variable data often excites clients, printers need to remember that digital clients require more support in developing their variable data projects. "It's a matter of helping them to focus on what is the end result that they wish to achieve. And how are they going to best achieve that with the data they have," Petruzates notes.
Because of the complex nature of digital printing and one-to-one marketing, a printer needs to work much farther upstream in the creative process, states Torok. "Digital differs from the offset side in the sense that with offset we get involved to implement a project, whereas on the digital side we're the one showing concepts from the very beginning of the project cycle."
As a result, printers need to develop a working relationship with the visionaries within their client's company. "We need to get to the visionary in the company, someone who can make that brash decision and change the whole direction of their marketing campaign. If we were to wait until the project gets to the print buyer stage, then the visionary might not know about all the options they had to express that voice. So, we have to get upstream to help them see their options and can plan for them," says Petruzates.
Continue a Discussion
Once the discussion surrounding digital printing has begun with a client, it's important to keep the dialogue fresh in your client's head, she remarks. "If we walk away after that first contact, nothing would ever happen. Everyone is excited about the possibilities at that moment. But, then they go home and they go to sleep. It's important to continue to help them see the possibilities after that first meeting," Petruzates remarks.
Padgett often follows up with clients by presenting them with a prototype of an upcoming project with which the client might be involved. "We offer suggestions and ideas to keep the progress moving," she says.
Short Runs, On-demand
When it comes to marketing digital printing to its clients, Mercury Print Productions, of Rochester, NY, focuses on digital printing's speed, short-run capabilities and flexibility, says President John Place.
"We're giving our customers an alternative way to get their information out there. We give them the benefits of going the digital versus the offset route," Place reports.
Mercury markets its Xerox digital capabilities to customers by placing an emphasis on the ability to make changes at the last minute, as well as its short-run capabilities.
"Customers like the ability to make changes anywhere and at any time," Place contends.
Quick turnaround has also been a strong seller for Mercury. "Everybody is late these days. Everybody needs it tomorrow, and it can't be done tomorrow on offset. What we are doing is going to digital for the partial run and then going to offset for the main run. We can turn it around by tomorrow for customers," Place concludes.