Knowing Your Customer and Their Print Application Needs
Focus on the Customer Needs
We can often get so focused on producing the job itself, that we lose sight of WHY a customer is getting the job produced. It’s not because they don’t have enough work to do or that they have extra money to spend. It’s because the job supports a business need. As you have your consulting conversations with the customer, talk about more than just the job. After all, the “job” is never going to shop with you again, but the customer and the company will.
What do your customers need for their business? What are they thinking about BEFORE they have a job for you to produce – that is, what is their business need?
- Find new customers
- Retain their current customers
- Market and sell their products and services
- Promote a business, a special offering or an event
- Improve their company’s image
- Train people efficiently
- Document their business processes and transactions
Business needs go far beyond a customer’s requirements of their print applications. Business needs to include everything a customer needs to do or achieve for their company to be successful. Ultimately, business needs are what drive the customer’s investment in print applications.
Who is Your customer?
From small businesses ... to larger corporate customers that have contracts with you … to people buying for their own use. All these customers may have different reasons for choosing your business. Across this range of customers, business needs can be pretty similar, only the scale is different.
The better you understand your customer’s business needs,
the better your recommendations for print applications will be.
Customers in a given vertical market are often interested in the same types of applications. Understanding your customers’ applications allows you to identify problems and recommend solutions to address them. Then you will know what is important to your customers and their business, and how their print applications impact their business.
Almost any print application your customer needs serves one of three purposes:
to inform, persuade, or record.
Who is the Audience?
Understanding the audience for the printed piece is just as critical.
- Is this document going to be a customer-facing document for your customer? That is, will their customers base business decisions on the quality of the document?
- Is this document internal use? Maybe the highest possible image quality isn’t as important, but the judicious use of color will make information more understandable.
- Is this document for the use of others outside the company (but not their customers)? An example would be tax forms, regulatory, or compliance forms, etc.
- Customer-facing documents – those that your customer uses to generate revenue from their customers – are usually the ones where customers care more about image quality, color, and professional binding options.
You can provide enormous business benefit to customers. Think of times when your customer said, “Thank you for your help”. Remember that “on time,” “great quality,” and “produced in a better way” are some of the main ways you can increase business for your company.
Watch for our next blog on Customer Development Series No. 2 featuring Vertical and Horizontal Market Applications.