The State of the State of Print Buying
Here is where our lovely classification takes a twist...now enter the surge of Print Management Firms and their Print Managers. Are they Agency Buyers? Brokers? Procurement People? A mix of all with some fluid morphing based on client needs?
These are probably rhetorical questions since I am not sure the people engaged in this even know what they are, or how they want to be classified. One thing for sure, it isn’t new. InnerWorkings (IW) has been infiltrating companies/agencies for many years and slowly taking over their production. It’s internal outsourcing! The IW employee works at a company but is actually just located there—they in fact work for IW and have their best interests in mind. I am not suggesting that IW’s best interests don’t include servicing their clients to the best of their ability, but there is ultimately a difference in where the buyers’ loyalty lies.
Recently, there was a discussion about Print Management Firms in my LinkedIn group that I gracefully bowed out of after a point was made that agencies/brands/marketers could spend more on print if they didn’t have to pay salaries and benefits to Print Production Managers. I typed with indignation that there was no quicker way to make print ALL about cost then to remove the artists from the process. But there were some bigger points made during this discussion that may be of concern to you...How can the PMF’s cover employee salaries, benefits, AND save their clients on printing? Who will ultimately only care about supplier price, and working with suppliers who provide profit margins for them?
As we enter 2015, it’s a good time to evaluate the buyers you work with, and make a conscious effort to help them keep their jobs! I am calling upon every printer to take time out of their week and send some educational information to their customers, and help them remain topical, relevant and print smart. This goes beyond relationship building, this is loss prevention—because trust me, if the bean counters win, we all will lose...and that includes the paper companies, the binderies, and the finishers!
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.