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#UKvUSA: Whose responsibility is it to educate print buyers?

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.

Print is declining

Everyone is aware that print volumes are falling at the moment. You only have to look at the long list of printing company closures every month to see how our industry is changing.

Many people are prepared to go as far as to say that the print industry is dying.

But it’s not all bad news

There are regular studies coming out that showed why print is still a vitally important communication channel. If you want to communicate effectively with your customers you need to use print. This applies to direct mail, catalogues and signage, to name but three opportunities.

Don’t get me wrong, digital is also a fantastic way to communicate with people. But Print can enhance that the channel too.

So why don’t buyers get the power of print?

It's time to educate people about the power of print

It’s time to educate people about the power of print

There’s a simple answer to this: not enough people are educating them. For an industry that is supposed to be all about communication, print often does remarkably badly. Professional print buyers understand why print is still so important – but all others need to be persuaded.

So whose job is it to start shouting out about the power of print? Personally, I think it’s down to a lot of different people. Here are three groups of people that I think should be telling more people why they should be using print.

Printing companies

Printing companies depend upon the use of print in order to survive. However, they have a tendency to sell to people who already want to print. I very rarely see printing companies going out and explaining it to other companies what they should be using print as part of their marketing mix.

Printing companies are in excellent position to do this. They could show specific case studies of how they have helped customers grow their businesses. However, let’s be fair, they need some help.

Industry bodies

Many of the print industry bodies that I come across are focused on helping printing companies as businesses. If you need help with finance or HR they are only too willing to help.

Not enough industry bodies campaign for more people to use print. However, I would argue that it is a vital part of their role. They should be developing resources that printing companies can use. They should also be creating their own campaigns to promote print.

There is another group of companies that should be helping out with promoting print as well.

Equipment manufacturers

Just like printing companies, equipment manufacturers depend on people using print for their businesses to survive. This is especially true of digital press manufacturers: their business model depends on clicks as much as people buying a press.

I have had conversations with two major manufacturers recently who are now beginning to realise that they need to educate users of print. It’s not just about talking to printing companies any more.

If you are a member of any of these types of company or organisation, you have a duty.

Tell someone about the power of print. Now

It’s time to take action. Can YOU go out and tell 10 people this week why they should be using print?

How did Deborah tackle this question? See here.

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