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#UKvUSA: 3 critical buying tasks to kick-off 2015

Two continents: US and UK. Two different buying backgrounds: procurement and agency. Two alternative ways of looking at things. I’m delighted to have teamed up with Deborah Corn from PrintMediaCentr to bring two extremely different views to some important print questions. So welcome to Print Buying: #UKvUSA where Deborah and I share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond.

At the end of this post I have linked to Deborah’s answer to the same question. We wrote our answers (each limited to 500 words) without any idea of what the other was writing. As Deborah says: “Maybe we will agree, maybe we won’t, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part!”

Please do leave comments, thoughts and support at the bottom of this post and on Deborah’s post.   It would be great if also posted your thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #UKvUSA Remember to watch out for our answers to another question next month.

UKVUSA_newsletter2#UKvUSA: 3 critical buying tasks to kick-off 2015

It’s that time of year again when thoughts are turning to New Year budgets and how to achieve them. That usually means reviewing the print being bought.

So my piece should really focus on some key buying tasks. It’s the time of year when buyers should be reviewing:

  • print specifications
  • purchasing process
  • supplier base

However, most of you will know this already. In addition, this is activity that buyers should be carrying out on a regular basis, not just at the beginning of the year.

So I want to focus on three tasks that are not so obvious. But they are just as important. Here’s the first one:

Get inspiration

There are so many things that we could and should be doing with print. However, the issue is that we often don’t know enough about the possibilities that are out there. It’s time to change this.

Set aside 30 minutes every week to learn more about the possibilities of print. Here are three great resources to get you started:

Remember to meet with print companies as well. They can be an excellent source of inspiration.

Once you have print inspiration, don’t keep this information to yourself.

Educate your company

It’s vital that budget holders know all their options for the best ways to communicate with their prospects and customers. The digital sector has been very good at publicising what it can do. The print sector is often less successful.

A buyer’s responsibility is to make sure that budget holders make the right decision. They should be broadcasting information to all relevant people within their company.

Most studies now show that the most effective communication is through a mix of print and digital. However, many companies have opted for a digital only route, often on grounds of cost. They are missing an opportunity to make more profits. A good buyer will make others aware of this. They will be proactive. They won’t just react to order requests within the company.

There is one other vital task for buyers as well.

Improve your skill sets

It’s important to make sure that your company invests in you. If they do not have any training budget, consider in investing yourself. I regularly spend my own money on investing in my own training and improvement.

Many people think of training in terms of improving print knowledge. However, it’s just as important to think about improving your general buying skills. Being able to understand different mindsets, present well and negotiate creatively are key buying skills. They can often bring about better results than focussing on specific print issues.

If you focus on these three tasks you will be in an excellent position to have a successful 2015.

How did Deborah tackle this question? See here.

Look out for the next #UKvUSA battle next month: “Why Print Buyers aren’t reading your blogs?”

PS There are some more very useful ideas on how to look at things from the buyer’s point of view in my free pdf book below. Make sure you download your copy right now.

PS There are some more very useful ideas on how to engage with customers in my free e-book below. Make sure you download your copy for free right now.


Download your free copy of “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” (worth £19/$29) right now



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