I read an article by Bill Farquharson published in Graphics Arts Monthly as editorial back in September 2006. It’s called “Please, Get Out of Printing!”.
To cut the long story short, a printer submitted a proposal to an RFQ and the response from the customer was:
“Thanks, but your price is no better than the price from our existing printer and we don’t see any reason to change. . . .”
Then the boss of the printing company met with the client and cut the price to an unsustainable level. Then the author went on and on winging how stupid it was and that printers should add value and help customers solve real problems, etc, etc, etc. Nice old fashioned stuff. Not going to judge them here.
From the other side of the fence
I spent a few hrs today with a large print buyer who tried to change their printer and find someone cheaper and easier to handle. Not disclosing any names here, but we ran into a wall of misunderstanding.
First we went surfing the web and look at the local sites. The websites were just shocking. A handful of ugly-looking pages or meaningless flash intros promising the same high quality printing, added value and a quote request via a web form. How can one choose? They all look the same. They have more or less the same prices and a varying quality of printing, that varies from job to job even for the same printer anyway.
We quickly ran out of the sites to look at and went into Yellow Pages. It was getting really boring and I left.
What was the buyer looking for?
– a one stop shop for marketing materials with a mix of digital, offset and some choice of finishing options
– reliable and repeatable quality
– quick quoting and up-front pricing
– quick and easy job submission
Ideally, all the transactions would happen online, unless they need some suggestions from the printer on the best way of handling an unusual project, which doesn’t happen very often.
Are you any different?
Bill Farquharson, in the aforementioned article in GAM suggested that that printer should become a car salesman if the best he can do is to cut the price. Fair enough.
So, now ask yourself some question…
How different are you from your customer’s point of view?
Do you stand out of the crowd?
… and don’t answer YES only because you have a better press than your immediate competitor because no one cares.
The printing industry is very much a level playing field. The difference between players of the same class is negligible to the average consumer. Technolgy-ignorant printers will be reduced to undercutting their own prices and going out of business if they don’t offer their customers good business connectivity in the literal sense – via the Internet.
Well, maybe you have another trick up your sleeve or your printing technology is so superior that you are in your own class?
P.S. Don’t buy Bill Farquharson’s new training DVD available at www.printtec.com or 800.587.7022. because he won’t teach you about the customer servicing technology or web-to-print. Please, prove me wrong here.
Spamming mushrooms dynamically distributed success
Mixing spam gibberish with magic mushrooms produces remarkable and unpredictable results as shown in this demonstration:
Don’t try to make sense of what the chicken says. You’ll need a few mushrooms for this.
For those from litigious countries, we have to inform you that this blog does not condone spam or consumption of any hallucinogenic substances. Enjoy