You Love Them, You Love Them Not: Printers and Their 'People'
I interview and work with a lot of print company owners. Much of our early conversations deal with my trying to find out their essence. What is it about them that’s different? What would make prospective customers pay attention? You could say that it all boils down to my trying every trick in a writer’s book to get an answer to one question:
What makes you so special?
You may be surprised (or not) to know that a lot of times, print CEOs say, “It’s our people. We’d be nothing without them.” And things like, “We have the best minds in the business.” They really do come across as proud parents (it takes one to know one). I love that they profess such love for their employees.
Then I go to their Website and guess what? Nary a mention of any employee. No bios. No headshots. No “Employee of the Month” feature. No content whatsoever devoted to their most precious assets. It just makes no sense.
Either your employees are your pride and joy, or you’re just saying that: which is it? If you believe your company’s strength stems from individual contributors, then make it public. Show me—and your prospects and customers, too.
I’ve been in dozens and dozens of printing facilities, and I do believe each company’s personality comes from the people who work there, including the owner. In this era of all-out social media marketing and increasing corporate transparency, it’s smart to feature your people in a lot of your marketing efforts.
I can think of at least six ways for printers to share their pride in their employees in their marketing:
- On your Website. List departments and their employees. Include headshots and short bios. Give site visitors a sense of who these folks are—and not just an abbreviated resume. I’d much rather know something interesting about each person, as would your prospects.
- Do a video series. Feature a different employee each month or each season. Start with a simple format to help each person as he or she’s taped. Maybe come up with five questions every person has to answer in the video. Just make sure everyone smiles.
- Feature a different employee in your monthly newsletter. This content can be more extensive than what’s on your Website.
- Give your employees a public shout out on social media. If you have a company Facebook page, LinkedIn account, and even a Twitter account, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate individual personnel from time to time so your audience gets to know them. It’s an honor.
- Give employees public acknowledgement via direct mail. Print your own notecards. Every quarter or more, feature a different department. Take a group photo for the cover of the notecard, and print a little bit of information about this department on the inside, as to why they’re terrific. Mail them to your customers. You can turn these into e-cards and feature them on your Website, too.
- Incorporate your admiration for employees in your weekly blog. Talk about their contribution to your firm’s growth and success. Give examples of the sorts of things they do. Include a headshot, of course, of the employee you’re honoring.
So be forewarned: if you and I ever have a conversation about your company, and you tell me your people make all the difference, I’m going to act like a Missourian and say quite bluntly, “Show me.”
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