I have an important duty as a parent. It is my duty to educate my daughter.
It is my responsibility to make sure that she behaves properly. It is my responsibility to make sure that she understands how to interact with other people. And it is my responsibility to make sure that she is capable of leading a fulfilled and happy life when it is time for her to leave home.
But parents are not the only people who must educate in this way. The print industry has a duty to educate its customers
Print companies who educate will end up with better customer relationships. Their clients will see them as companies who are able to help them develop their businesses. Print companies will therefore have better control over their sales pipeline and a better chance of achieving their sales targets.
Print companies that do not educate are not only failing in their duty to the print industry, but will also find it harder to achieve their sales targets. They will not be regarded by their customers as a source of useful business information. They will struggle to achieve good customer relationships.
Printers need to remind customers that print is a vital channel of communication. The printing industry is under intense pressure from e-communication. While businesses would not function without emails and SMS, that doesn’t mean that print has no place. Here is an interesting case study on a marketing campaign that increased its response rate by using print. Providing customers with case studies helps to educate the customer while simultaneously promoting the value of the service provider. Suppliers that give their customers useful information become more than commodity producers. They become trusted sources of information making their customers more likely to ask for their advice at the beginning of a project.
It is down to printers to persuade their customers and prospects to use print – and use it effectively. If they fail to do this, there is a danger that customers will transfer their print budgets to other communication channels. When printers fail to educate themselves on the role of print within the multi-channel world and fail to educate their customers on the value of that role they risk failing as a company.
Just as I have my responsibilities as a parent, printers have responsibilities as a print company. Make sure that your prospects and customers understand the value of print and the best way to use it. Your customers will thank you.
Matthew Parker has been buying print for twenty years and has worked in directory, B2B magazine, consumer news stand magazine and agency environments. Among other roles, he headed up print purchasing at Future Publishing when it was the UK’s 5th largest consumer news stand publisher. Matthew now runs Print & Procurement Ltd., which uses its industry insight to help generate effective, profitable relationships between the print sector and companies that need print through implementing new approaches and processes and practical assistance. The company also runs training courses in all areas of print procurement, including specifying print, choosing and managing suppliers, procurement strategy and e-procurement and negotiation.