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Featured:     European Coverage     Production Inkjet Analysis

How Printers Should Think About Marketing

Published on October 8, 2014

Jennifer Matt talks about how to think about marketing for printers. Start with the very simple premise - who are you going to market to? Don't skip over this critical step because its required for everything else you do in marketing.

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By Gordon Pritchard on Oct 08, 2014

I don't think "marketing" for the printshop begins with a list. Nor with message delivery methods (direct mail VR or QR codes). I think it begins with some deep internal reflection. For example, examining the shop's position relative to its competition, what its compelling value solutions are, determining actual industry credibility (their reputation & credibility in the marketplace). understanding the market potential, alignment of products/services/facilities, equipment, systems etc that speak to their prospective customer needs. etc., etc.


By Jennifer Matt on Oct 08, 2014


All very valid points, I agree that a company needs a "story" that they take to the market. The value of this story is only as good as where it gets delivered. My point in this video is that marketing is ALL ABOUT lead generation so who is receiving the message is AS IMPORTANT as the message itself. Too many businesses spend a lot of time on their message and very little time directing where it goes.

Many printers will say they don't know how to create the things you mention; competitive positioning, industry credibility, etc.). The best place to "discover" what you do best and how to construct your story is to look at your existing customer base. What problems are you solving for them? How are you delivering those solutions?

Then you have a story that you believe because its based on the truth of what you're doing today. Next step is to "profile" those customers and then target your marketing to find more like them. Who wouldn't want to clone their 3 best customer accounts?

You're right Gordon, the story is important AND where that story is directed is just as important. Predictive revenue comes from a sustainable lead generation program, in the online world - this is becoming more of a marketing function than a direct sales function.



By Charles Gehman on Oct 08, 2014

I think how printers "should" think about marketing is secondary to thinking about it. At all. Gotta start somewhere.


By Gordon Pritchard on Oct 08, 2014

You conclude with "This is the best way for a printer to become a marketing services provider" - I don't think so.

It also appears that we do not share a common understanding of what marketing entails.

Printers market themselves whether they are aware of it or not and whether they are in charge of it or not. Marketing is not promotion and it is not advertising although it informs both.

For printers who want to "market" themselves I strongly suggest they get a copy of: "Do it! Marketing" by David Newman (ISBN-13:978-0-8144-3266-0) - it may be available at your library. It's succinct, practical, and applicable marketing knowledge for the printer who wants to take charge of marketing their business or gain some knowledge that they can use if they wish to offer marketing services to their prospective and existing customers.


By Jacob Aizikowitz on Oct 09, 2014

I see that its already a lively discussion, so let me add to it.

For printers the challenge of marketing their business in order to get more leads and do overall more business is a challenge. But its a challenge very similar to the challenge every business is facing.

For printers to be relevant as service providers to their current or future customers they must become Digital Savvy. In other words, whereas today Printers are their customers trusted provider for Print Services, tomorrow they must expand beyond Print and become their customers' trusted provider for Multi-channel Services. And this means becoming Digital Savvy.

The reason this is a must has to do with the printers' customers. They are all (regardless of any specific list) digitally savvy -- either on their own with all the various mobile and tablet devices they have and the on-line nature of their life, or in Enterprises they are already practicing Digital Technologies, such as Marketing Automation, which shift quite dramatically the way they think about marketing and communication with customers or prospects.

And digitally savvy customers will rarely engage as a service provider a business that can only offer Print media.

Technology and mastering technology is necessary for becoming Digitial Savvy. I agree that its not sufficient but the unique challenge is "how to be relevant to your customers as they are fast shifting to a digital world". Whereas "how to market your business" is much less unique and much less technology-dependent.


By Robert Godwin on Oct 09, 2014


Simple steps that work:
-identify the prospects who could use your services.
-Engage the prospect with relevant messaging that is to the point.
-Use appropriate media channels like the Internet and search engine optimization, direct mail and community involvement through chamber of commerce or similar local organizations.
-When you meet face to face, ask two questions that will help you immediately qualify the prospect:
1. What kind of business are you in?
2. How do you market it?

If you can't take it from there, hire a professional salesperson.

Above all remember that both 'market' and 'sell' are action verbs.


By chris ross on Oct 10, 2014

Great conversation, I think we may all be missing a key, and very simple point. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER! Jennifer starts out with this but doesn't build on it. There are a myriad of tactics and technologies to deliver all of it. The foundation of it all is knowing your customer, what's important to them and creating a messaging structure that aligns with those needs. Start with that, build from there.

Disclaimer - my company does this kind of work, Systym.co, not intended to be a promotion, but a core idea we have built our entire business around.


By Jennifer Matt on Oct 17, 2014


Good points on Digitally savvy and expanding beyond print manufacturing to help customers deliver digital messages as well as printed messages.

When printers invest in the digital technologies (like your product XMPie) they should "eat their own dog food" and produce the best possible multi channel marketing campaigns for their OWN business first. Nothing attracts new customers then showing them how you market yourself.

Printers have been doing this for years with print - they take special care in creating the best quality and unique print samples for their sales teams. Marketing yourself using multi-channel marketing tools proves to a customer that you can do it for them too.



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