WHEN COMPANIES analyze how to save money, promotional and print costs are often an easy target. In many organizations it’s common that print buyers are given a mandate from management to cut last year’s budget by 5 percent or more.
Just as most buyers are not given proper training on printing technology, they also are not given training on financial tools and tracking. Most organizations don’t know how much money they are spending on print, don’t know how much they are spending with each of their printers, what their AA costs are, or which costs are controllable. Without sound financial information, some buyers may have a knee-jerk reaction to cutting costs—they bid out jobs to a few more printers and go for the lowest price.
This cost-reduction process can actually be a great opportunity for print solution providers. While, at first glance, it may seem counterproductive to help customers reduce their costs, it behooves you to get involved. Think of it this way: Would you rather have your clients go through this process on their own (or even with another printer), or would you rather be part of the process?
Help Clients Track Costs
Consider these ways in which helping your customers track and reduce their costs can strengthen your relationships and potentially increase sales:
• Build trust. Buyers want to work with a print provider that is sensitive to their needs, and not one that just wants to sell them another print job.
• Create differentiation. Very few printing companies get involved with their customers at this level. This is an opportunity to provide a value-added service that’s extremely important to your clients.
• Build “high and wide” relationships with management and other decision makers. It’s important to establish relationships with other key decision makers, not just print buyers. The needs and concerns of management may be different from those of the buyers. Management is more focused on the big picture. Involving your company in the cost containment process allows you to provide a more strategic role. Your unique perspective can help key decision makers understand the impact of cutting costs to the client’s brand and service to their customers.