Ask and You Shall Receive
As you crack open that new 2010 calendar (rhetorically speaking, of course), and face the prospect of not knowing what the heck would make your print customers happy — happy enough, that is, to stick with you for the long haul — may I suggest the easiest solution? Ask them.
Ask them how they'd prefer to be communicated with, and when.
Ask them to rate the services you provided in 2009.
Ask them if they'd like help with a particular pet peeve.
Ask them what's changing with their firm's marketing strategy so that you're in-the-know and can offer solutions.
Ask them what other communications media they're interested in, using or hoping to use.
Ask them what one new career-related skill they want to master in 2010.
Ask them if they use your website — why and how?
Ask them what would improve your website?
Ask them what improvements your firm should make in order to serve them better.
Ask them if they're itching to learn a particular print specialty (like VDP or creating pURL campaigns).
Ask them to name one additional service or product that you might realistically offer them.
Ask them if they need more information from you...on anything.
Ask them to name one change in the business relationship that would make them absolutely delighted to work with you.
Ask them to confide their biggest business or career fear.
Remember that it's about their business needs and challenges, not about how well you lay ink down on paper. In my experience, if you ask in an appropriate and professional manner, you will get the answers from your print customers.
Study these answers and compare them across all of your company's customers. The results should tell you what to do next, and lead you in a good and reliable direction.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com