THERE ARE many reasons why a printer may decide to exhibit at a trade show or conference. From generating solid business leads to creating or maintaining brand awareness, exhibiting can have very lucrative results—but only if it is orchestrated effectively. In February, my staff and I hosted our annual Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference at Amelia Island Plantation in Florida. Print Oasis is the premier educational conference focused on the challenges of marketers, print buyers and production professionals. This year, 65 printers and technology companies were featured in the Exhibit Hall. One of the main reasons print buyers choose

AMELIA ISLAND, FL—February 21, 2008—Print Buyers, a free, educational e-community for print buyers, print communications professionals and their suppliers in partnership with Print Communications Professionals International (PCPI), the premier association dedicated to print buyers, hosted their seventh annual Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference & Exhibit February 9-12, 2008. The event took place at the exotic ocean-front location of Amelia Island Plantation on Amelia Island, FL. Over 400 people participated in the conference, including 228 attendees (232 registered). Mark Hoog, the author of Growing Fields Books and executive director of Children’s Leadership Institute, set the tone for the conference by empowering

AMELIA ISLAND, FL—With daytime temperatures in the 70s and clear skies throughout the Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference and Exhibit, held here February 9th to 12th at the Plantation Resort, the Sunshine State lived up to its name. So did the quality of educational sessions and networking opportunities available to the 400 people attending the seventh annual conference geared toward print buyers, production professionals and specifiers. Hosted by Suzanne Morgan, founder of Print Buyers and Print Communications Professionals International (PCPI), this year’s event featured a special environmental sustainability track for the first time. Special presenters included Scott Paul from Greenpeace USA, Katie Miller

In a former life in this industry, I used to conduct customer satisfaction surveys for printers with their customers. These surveys were conducted by phone or in person, which allowed me to collect more nuanced information.

Instead of contacting all of a printer’s clients, I often focused my efforts on gathering in-depth feedback from the printer’s top accounts—usually the top 25 customers. I would often start interviews by mentioning to the print buyers that their company was one of the printer’s top accounts and represented a significant portion of the printer’s business.

Frequently the print buyers were surprised to learn this.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to rain on industry efforts to better define quality expectations in printing. Certainly industry standards, such as SWOP, GRACoL, SNAP and Bridges, are noble and important. These standards seek to help buyers and their print solution providers communicate quality issues more effectively. And when used properly, they are effective. But with the exception of perhaps SNAP, print buyers for the most part aren’t paying that much attention to industry standards. And some print buyers don’t even know what they are.

In a Print Buyers survey of over 62 top print buyers, buyers were asked “How relevant

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