Is buying print difficult? Here’s the brutal truth from someone who tried…

I have some interesting feedback from someone who tried to buy print

I recently spoke to David Baldaro from Cross Media Consultancy Ltd. He had been trying to buy print for a couple of projects. He’s a typical buyer that we might encounter today (albeit with a print industry background).

His experiences were not what we would hope for. I have shared the thoughts that he sent to me and some lessons that printing companies can take from this.

Here’s what he had to say

Print buying can be harder than we think...

Print buying can be harder than we think…

‘OK, so I might have been spoilt from my past background, having worked for Xerox for many years but over the past couple of years I’ve been on the outside looking back in, as a consumer looking to buy print. Both you and I have been ‘banging on the drum’ talking about value but I am starting to wonder if people have been listening, or they’ve been doing that thing my son does when I ask him to do something only to be greeted by a nod, a shrug of the shoulder and then nothing ….

Where’s this coming from? Well, I was hunting for someone to print a small (<200) quantity of business cards. A simple request I thought, “Everyone does business cards, and knows the mantra of print of demand” I thought. I was greeted by printers talking about their values, their equipment and their past wins, but the only way to get any indication of price was through the dreaded ‘contact us’ form. Only the ‘big-names’ had their stalls laid out and prices displayed – where I could have the world for a tenner.

I like to support local businesses, so I thought I’d give a local printer a shot and messaged them my requirements. When the reply finally came, I almost fell off my chair. My quote was close to a quid per card – PER CARD! I duly wiped up my coffee from my screen and reply with ‘thanks, but no thanks!’ and moved on!”

So what can we learn from his experiences?

Have an interesting website

Prospects and customers are no longer interested in pictures of presses and typical messages telling visitors about your quality and service. Your website needs to engage customers and teach them how you can help them.

Consider having online pricing for commodity products

Bear in mind that many buyers today do not want to have a conversation. They want a price and they want it quickly. David suggests a “Quick quote” or “Price finder” section on your website. However, if you do go down this route, accept that you will have to have great SEO. You will also need to price keenly!

Reply promptly to enquiries

David says: “Personally, I expect a price in less than an hour! Ideally, in less tha 2 minutes. After that I have moved on and potentially found something else.” Make sure you have the right systems to be able to issue this sort of quote efficiently.

Accept that not all jobs are right for you

Don’t be afraid to turn a job down if it’s not right for you. Alternatively, partner with other suppliers. Then you can outsource what is not right for you but still maintain the relationship with the customer.

This isn’t the end of the story

David had many more interesting things to say, especially about websites. I’ll be sharing some of them with you soon.
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