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Jennifer Matt on selecting a web-to-print technology

Published on October 29, 2012

Jennifer Matt talks about mistakes printers make in selecting a web-to-print technology and how to avoid the pitfalls.

Hello, this is Jennifer Matt. I’m a contributor with WhatTheyThink and today I wanted to talk a little bit about how to select a web-to-print technology.

The reason I want to talk about this is because I think that a lot of printers make mistakes in this area and the mistake is the wrong choice, which makes it a wrong choice for both the vendor and the printer. And so I just want you to answer three questions before you sign on the dotted line.

Who are you targeting on your customers? So are they customers you don’t know yet; you’re just going to put up a website and hope people come. Please don’t use hope as your number one strategy for driving traffic; it doesn’t work. Versus are you doing this for your existing customers. So B2B or B2C. So answer that question. Answer that question very clearly; who are you targeting online.

And the second question I would like you to answer is what do you want to sell ‘em. I know it sounds stupidly obviously, but what do you want to sell ‘em. What products are you going to put up there? And please don’t tell me you’re going to put a three million person direct mail campaign up there. That’s not appropriate for a self-service transaction. So what products are you going to sell? Are you going to sell corporate identity? Are you going to sell business documents? Are you going to sell posters? When you think about those three things as a printer you know that each one of those things you have to ask the customer different questions. So if you’re selling posters online, you got to talk about what’s the finish size. You got to talk about whether they need laminating, whether they need mounting, whether they want it printed on vinyl. Way different questions, then, what you would ask the person what they need for a business card. So once you identify who you’re trying to target, and what you’re trying to sell, you’re 90 percent there to getting to the right vendor.

The third question I would ask yourself is do you want to partner with a vendor in a licensing model or software as a service model. So I’ve written extensively about this on WhatTheyThink, but the basics are licensing is you buy the software. Software as a service is you rent it. You subscribe to it. You get – you pay a rent monthly and you get to use it as you go. There’s advantages and disadvantages to both, but you need to decide how you want to partner with the vendor before you go engage with them.

So if you walk in to choosing a web-to-print solution with the answers to those three questions, you’re going to really draw down which vendors to look for and you have a much better chance of making the right decision. So that’s my advice for going out and doing your shopping. Don’t just start by getting demos, answer those three questions and if you need more help look on WhatTheyThink for more information.

Thank you.

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