By Terry Nagi Digital printing, short run or messaging targeted to individuals of one, is most often bought or authorized by the executive with the “pain”. November 15, 2004 -- In the digital sales process, even more than in the sale of typical commercial printing, the imaging and re-imaging of a printer is vital. This means the marketing materials used to portray a digital printer’s capabilities are very different than those used for marketing commercial print. Digital printing, short run or messaging targeted to individuals of one, is most often bought or authorized by the executive with the “pain”. This is normally a "C-level" executive; the CEO, CFO, CIO, or the Chief Marketing Officer. Other key decision makers have titles like Sales Director, Marketing Manager, Exhibitions Manager, etc. During the digital print sales representative’s prospecting process, these individuals are often difficult to reach and see. Even after they have been familiarized with the features and benefits of digital “solutions”, they continue to be difficult to reach. They normally have more important activities to pursue, and do not have the time or motivation to concentrate on what they may see as a "printing" issue. It is up to the sales rep to show that the solution goes far beyond printing. Digital print marketing materials must excite C-level executives in “pain” to realize digital printing, its applications, uses, and successes can directly benefit their companies. The materials should help them realize how digital printing can: increase sales increase profits reduce inventory develop more leads keep customers better informed reduce sales expenses shorten sales cycles bring new products to market faster create greater excitement in the marketplace create a unique image for the company Real World Examples These opportunities, already well documented by current digital printing users, are best proven using case studies with which the “pain” buyer can relate. Hopefully, these will be case studies of successes by the digital printer, themselves. If not, there are a growing number of case studies of other digital printer successes that can be targeted to the “pain” buyer’s individual circumstances. Fore example, there is usually a case study available each week here at ODJ. Look at these and consider how the examples they provide may relate to the needs of companies you are working with or prospecting. The Print On Demand initiative (www.podi.org) has already captured over 200 digital print success stories (case studies) segmented by industry, specific product applications, defined marketing situation, and provides not only graphics of the ultimate digital print solution, but also details the situation prior to the solution, what the solution was, details on the variable or short run information, the results, and often, comments from users. These case studies, plus the digital printer’s own set of testimonials from satisfied customers mailed, e-mailed and featured on the digital printer’s Web site, are often all that is needed to obtain an audience with a potential decision-maker. Why are such examples effective? Because execs are unlikely to take the time to read a 16-page brochure, examine a sample kit, respond to non-variable post card mailings or other more standard marketing materials of the printer. They read quickly, react quicker, and have a refined sense of what relates to their business needs.. The continuing development of an ever-increasing number of case studies and testimonials including graphics, the situation before digital printing, how it was done, the situation after digital printing, the objectives pursued, and the actual objectives achieved and a testimonial--can all be printed, placed on the printer’s Web site, and most important, mailed or e-mailed regularly to high potential prospects. Keep Showing them the Money Case studies share how digital printing has solved business problems and achieved significant results against objectives. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind may well describe the situation for digital print sales people following a meeting with key executives. The exec's time is occupied solving problems, not thinking about a presentation by a digital sales rep. This makes it absolutely essential for sales reps to regularly (every 4 to 6 weeks) share new examples of how short-run or targeted one-to-one digital printing has solved business problems and achieved significant results against objectives. The typical commercial printer’s brochure is used once, seen once, and seldom stored or reviewed again by a buyer. Updated case studies, easy to obtain and easy to read, should be required reading for executives who are experienced in speed reading important information that can help them reach their objectives. Finally, add real time testimonials from satisfied digital buyers. Digital printing, although not new, still needs to create client awareness. Standard brochures and newsletters do not do this. Case examples will! Beyond the cost of capturing graphics and creating the case study with professional interviewing, writing, copyediting, and Web site development, this is a low cost advertising and marketing program, for both prospecting and increasing current client knowledge. As you build a repertoire of examples, be sure to use the most winning ones as examples for other customers and prospects to help grow your digital business. It lets you show what you can do with the endorsement of those who can tell it best: your customers.