The State of the State of Print Buying
Greetings PI World! The holidays are among us and this season is a time for reflection, as well as anticipation for the coming new year. In that spirit, I’d like to dedicate this post to a topic close to my heart—Print Buying.
Oddly enough, I never referred to myself as a Print Buyer until I started hanging around all of you Printers, Service Providers and Industry people. I suppose that is an easy way to lump us all together even though buying print was only one part of my long list of responsibilities as an Ad Agency Production Manager/Supervsior/Director of Production Services.
To me, there are three types of Print Buyers: Agency, Brokers and Procurement people.
Agency buyers work within the creative department and have responsibility and influence in the creation of work, such as recommending printing processes and paper, introducing new print and marketing technology, working with printers and internal teams to get most bang for printing dollars...and things of this nature.
Brokers are just that. They sit in the middle of service providers and service requestors and receive commission for their efforts. I have known brokers who are actively involved in helping customers create specs and make recommendations, but in my experience they are mostly perceived as order takers, working with their suppliers to get the best prices so they can get the most commission. The perception is also that the margin is their main concern, but that certainly doesn’t apply to all.
Procurement is where you find your corporate purchasers. Some are very educated in print (PI Blogger Matthew Parker for example) and work for big companies with massive buying power; others literally buy print, office supplies, and whatever else needs to be procured. In that case, they may even work with a broker to help them, or send specs to "approved" corporate vendors and make decisions on whom to use based on costs—since that is their job.
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist, international speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts From The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionals the No. 1 print group on LinkedIn, Girl No. 1 at Girls Who Print, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors and sits on the board of the The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, and is an advisor for the Advertising Production Club of NYC.
Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer and now works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers and members, and achieve success with their social media, content marketing, event marketing and sales endeavors.