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What is Your Print Business Differentiation?

What do you provide for your sales team to get the upper hand in the marketplace? Do you have differentiation? Are you investing in something that will not only win new customers but keep existing ones?

By Jennifer Matt
Published: December 11, 2019

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Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Patrick Whelan on Dec 11, 2019

More great insight from Jennifer Matt! I would add; Good product, price and service are the customers minimum expectation. Everyone premisses it.

The customers perception is your reality. Differentiate with thought leading, customer centric content that not only builds awareness but also positions your brand as the most trusted resource.

The customer controls the sales process. 80% is complete before they initiate contact with you (if they do). How you differentiate your brand during that 80% of the customer journey is critical. You are what your content says you are. And in the era of digital overload, your methods need to include print.

 

By Patrick Whelan on Dec 11, 2019

Sorry for the typos!

 

By Vincent Mallardi on Dec 11, 2019

Just waking up at 6:00 am (in Hawaii), I see an article on differentiation and a pie chart showing that only 60% of printers responding to a survey plan to be profitable this year! Even a Kona coffee buzz can't make the chart look good - except of course for differentiation. Commodity industries, by definition, don't have it. Let's take sand & gravel. It's sold by the ton not the service, product, promotion, packaging or any other "P" that can be conjured. Printing is a "do you have anything to quote" commodity because we as an industry that invests nothing in marketing declare ourselves so. Go to any printing website and the most prominent images are the Get-a-Quote button - along with stock photography of an ink fountain (which no one ever gets close enough to marvel) and a circle of fake culturally-diverse people. Other sites are the opposite. They hide the fact that they are printers. Well technically no one is a real printer anymore - we just are used to the term from when our grandpas and Frank Romano (sic) operated letterpress machines. I digress. Back to differentiation. In my experience as a successful salesman, no salesperson, I made it my job to be different. A visit from Vince was invited. anticipated and worthwhile. (That was before my walker.) Anyhow, be smarter, faster and more inventive than your buyer-person(s) - make them look good. Don't depend on your sales manager who's probably one because he can't sell. And one final note if you're still with me on this: The sand and gravel industry is "tied" with printing at the bottom of the 30-industry Marketing as a Share of Revenues list. It cuts off there at less-than-1%.

Aloha and Mahalo and, yes, like Frank I operated a monotype machine and did hand headline setting. Still do, out here in the middle of the ocean. Keep me up to date!

Vince

 

By Mark Myers on Dec 12, 2019

Vince Mallardi’s comments were brilliant in their perspective and comparisons...
Years ago I hired Vince on a merger proposition and he was correct, I anticipated his input and perspective... Let me elucidate for a moment... I built a small 3 man shop into 106 employees in a few years ... not by promising better quality but by solving several problems of the times 45 years ago... Namely getting the estimate to the customer in 10 Minutes or less when the industry average was 2-3 days... which made the customers feel special, as if I went out of my way to take care of them...Additionally... when the client needed a job printed over the weekend ... most would charge for the overtime they had to pay the employees ... However I recognized that OT was the premier moneymaker as the company overhead was covered during the regular work week hours, and even with the OT pay my profit margins were much greater... So I made the client feel special by saying I appreciated their business and there would be no rush charge... My company’s Logo was “LDC - The Problem Solvers” and that was in 1975...
To get my 10-minute estimates to the client I developed a complex set of algorithms combining numerous functions into a simple formula ... which I provided to my sales team so they could do a live estimate in the clients office and walk out with the order...And which in 1995 at the urging of salesmen from Xpedx and Unisource led me into creating www.EstimatorCloud.com the high speed EZ estimating solution that just about anyone can easily operate which I introduced at Graph Expo in 1998... and never looked back.

Vince... Keep your perspective and humor coming

Mark L Myers CEO EstimatorCloud.com

 

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