Marketing Ideas for Printers from Outside of the Box
Don’t get mad; I’m not bashing the printing industry. After all, I am IN the industry. I rely on it and I intend to be around it for a long time. The point is that as with industries everywhere, we tend to narrow our focus to our own community.
We keep an eye on what our competitors, colleagues and vendors do. How they advertise. How they sell. What they sell. What they’re reading. Who’s who and where they work. There is some sort of tribal comfort in being an insider.
There are benefits to this ‘insider’ mentality. We learn from each other and improve our trade and professional skills. We get insight into new manufacturing and service technologies. We learn the ins and outs of the industry. But does this help us in understanding the most important thing of all—our customer?
Claude C. Hopkins says it well in Scientific Advertising, “The maker of an advertised article knows the manufacturing side and probably the dealer’s side. But this very knowledge often leads him astray in respect to customers. His interests are not in their interests.” In other words you must walk in your customer’s shoes in order to be a truly effective marketer. Sometimes we have to rattle our own cages to make that happen.
When my marketing ideas feel less-than-inspired, or when I’m faced with a challenging business predicament, I look outside our printing tribe for a spark. Such was the case several years ago when I was faced with a pricing problem.
Costs for our primary product had increased significantly. We had raised prices in the recent past (prior to the cost increase) and now were faced with a dilemma. We absolutely had to raise prices yet how could we do it again without alienating our customers?