Thursday, 24 September 2015

How can I help?

How can I solve your problem?
You have probably heard all this before from your favoured Print Salesman.
“We aren’t like other printers…. we have a super duper new press…. We’ve just invested in digital and the quality is great…we are very competitive…. We can also do large format…our service is second to none”

I’ve personally been guilty of this in the past, even worse is telling your sales team to push these benefits with clients especially when you have a shiny new piece of equipment to fill.

The problem is that customers don’t want to know how what kit you have; they want a solution to their problems. It’s like the old question, “why do people buy drills?” Not because they want a shiny new drill, it’s because they want to make a hole in a wall!!

Your typical print provider is all about selling his capacity and you can understand why. Those printing presses need filling so they can pay a few bills and wages, but the customer couldn’t care less all they want is a solution to their problem.

How can I help?

Typically your print salesperson will not ask this very simple question. The solution to your problem might be something completely off the wall rather than the perceived problems of cheaper prices, extended credit or better service, unless they asks you this question he cant solve your problems.

The leaflet you are printing might be for a high speed production line and you want supplying in a new way to improve the supply chain. It might be a tag for your product worth hundreds of pounds that’s needed on an unusual material. You may need a solution for managing the print for the chain of shops you own. In my experience the problems are not just about getting a better price, although that is always a bonus.

Unfortunately your typical print provider can’t always do this. The problem is that every printer provider in the UK is a specialist in producing a certain type of product. They are niche producers of print. They invest in equipment that is suited to their client base, but nobody can manufacture every piece of print. It’s just not possible.

So if you order your catalogue in the tens of thousands one year and want to reduce the quantity and produce an interactive online version of your catalogue the following year, it’s unlikely the print provider you used last year can do this for you this year.

You probably order all the letterheads and business cards through the same print provider who prints your company brochures.  The chances are you are paying too much, as they aren’t using the most efficient kit to produce your job, as they will invariably try to print the job in house.

What is the solution?

The solution is to work with a Print & Marketing Specialist. The right person will act as a resource for your business, using their considerable knowledge of the process to outsource your businesses communications. They will use best of breed suppliers who have all the latest equipment with quality; environmental management & data compliance systems ensure your print is produced efficiently.

There are many other advantages of working with a dedicated professional. Your brand is managed in a more coherent way. You will spend more of your time on productive work rather than chasing a myriad of suppliers and your digital marketing, social media & printed matter will have a common strategy.

Ian Crow
Print & Marketing Consultant
Mobile 0333 012 4867

Coming soon “The Seven Deadly Sins of Print Buying”

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Tale of the Marketing Dinosaur

I first wrote this blog below in 2010. I stumbled on it again recently and wondered has any of this changed in the last five years. Your comments would be appreciated !!
This is a true story-the identity of the organisation is revealed near the end.
I used to be a member of a large professional trade organisation who used to send me no end of printed and electronic communication. One of these items was a quarterly guide for the courses they offered. It gave me details of courses that were available nationally and some that were only available regionally. It was a generic guide covering courses from Aberdeen to Plymouth. It was an A4 48 page document that weighed a ton. With over 20,000 members receiving it 4 times a year it was costing them a fortune to print and post it. 
Spotting an opportunity, I contacted the organisation and eventually got through to the Marketing Director and discussed with him a number of money-saving ideas. Reducing the size to A5 would have saved them thousands of pound in postage alone, but my main suggestion was to do a number different versions. I explained that i wasn’t interested in their courses in Scotland or the South of the country, just the ones in the North and had they considered doing a number of different versions. I had costed out that doing four versions in A5 with fewer pages, would again, save them many thousands. 
This wasn’t rocket science. It wasn’t making a great deal of new technology. I was just a common sense approach that would have saved the organisation over five figures a year. Guess what the dinosaur said?
“Yes it all sounds like a good idea, we had considered something similar but the course guide in its current format works well for us” 
Despite my subtle persistence, they were not prepared to experiment with a new format to see if they could improve their attendance at courses even greater. They told me their courses were not always full. It would have required a bit of work on their part but the dinosaur was insistent they weren’t for changing. I eventually I gave up and walked away.
You are probably thinking “what is all the fuss?, there are lots of lazy marketing departments out there”. That’s very true, except this was the Head of Marketing at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)!! Yes the leading Marketing trade body in the UK who are there to advise on best practice and inform their members of new trends and technologies. 
The CIM must be full of Marketing dinosaurs. They are living on the vast fees they charge their members and put little thought into reporting on new trends and technologies. Visiting their so called “Learning Zone” and searching for terms like “cross media” or “QR codes” produce no results. I haven’t a clue what they do. 
Needless to say I resigned my membership as soon as I could as I didn’t think they were a relevant organisation for the 21st century. I hope they change, but I doubt it. The marketing dinosaur lives on but for how long?