We came across this post about printing plant tours while researching something else. The writer is a consultant who sells branding, marketing, and design services, and he’s clearly somebody who’s spent a lot of time inside printing plants.

Here’s his conclusion about the value of plant tours as a sales tool:

“The truth is I personally do not care about the equipment. I know that these printers have spent tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on all these printing presses, but I can not keep up on all the specs of each press. I just need to know you can get my job done and make my client happy with the results.”

His challenge to printers who believe that showing customers around the plant makes a difference: “What does your plant do for me? How does your plant make my life easier and get me more clients or satisfy my clients better?”

He didn’t get any responses to these fair questions at his blog, but perhaps there’ll be some reaction here. Should today’s customers care about or even attempt to understand how printing technology works, or why printers have chosen the presses, etc., that they’ve installed? What exactly does a walkaround contribute to the sales effort? As web-to-print channels start to take hold, doesn’t the whole idea of in-person inspections seem a bit anachronistic?

And if that topic doesn’t draw comment, this one might: the writer’s assertion that “personal variable printing makes lazy marketers.”