Why pubs and printing companies have more in common than we might think

Who would have thought it would be possible to learn so much about the printing industry from a visit to the pub?!

What I thought would be a simple night out for a beer or two and good conversation with a friend turned out to be highly educational. Looking round this one establishment gave me a lot of food for thought about how we sell print.

To be honest, drawing the parallels started of as a bit of a joke between my friend and I. But I quickly realised that actually there was a lot of value in finding parallels and learning lessons.

The parallels aren’t just in the way we do things

I can also see parallels between different types of pub and different types of printing companies. Some pubs are doing very well indeed. Some are struggling. And it’s exactly the same in the printing industry.

Some pubs focus on serving as many people as possible with standard products at competitive prices. Others do very well out of serving premium clients with specialised, high-price products. Some pubs work as nimble independents. Others achieve economies of scale and extra branding opportunities by being part of a chain.

However, there are also a good number of pubs that are happy to serve anyone. This is because they struggle to win enough business. Few have any sort of a business plan or strategy. They are simply hoping to win enough business to stay in business for the next few months. Many of these will fail over the next few months.

A visit to a pub can teach you a lot about selling printing services

A visit to a pub can teach you a lot about selling printing services

So here’s a final question for you

What type of a pub does your printing company most closely resemble? Do you focus on the mass market? Does this mean you struggle to stand out against the competition? Have you found a premium market? Do these customers do enough to in you the right profit margins? Or are you a business that has no strategy and is struggling to survive?

Perhaps it might be worthwhile considering a different business model than the one you currently operate. Perhaps drawing these parallels has given you something to think about. Before you make up your mind, it may be worth looking back over what this series has covered.

Here’s a reminder of the other articles in this series

Here are the six strategies that I learned from this exercise

  • Sell specific products or services
  • Keep your language simple
  • Make sure you have the right products and customers to make good profit margins
  • Create customer enticements
  • Create a customer information sheets to manage expectations
  • Review your top customers to find a premium market to focus on

This brings my series to an end

It has been a fascinating exercise to compare pubs and the printing industry. There have been interesting lessons to learn. I’m this isn’t the only marketplace we could compare the printing industry to. But it is certainly one where I have enjoyed the research.

This series was created in a single visit to the pub. I wonder more what more could be gained from another visit? It sounds like it might be time for another beer or two! Cheers!
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2 Responses to Why pubs and printing companies have more in common than we might think

  • Gemma says:

    Interesting article, as a printing company I can see the resemblance and I do agree that focusing on a clear target market is likely to be more beneficial that trying to be everything for everybody. Maybe I need to carry out a bit of research of my own to find out what kind of pub we mostly resemble, I will try to sell this idea to my boss!

    • Matthew Parker says:

      Enjoy the research Gemma! Remember, you can have more than one target market. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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