Home' New Zealand Printer Magazine : December 2012 Contents 43
A gamekeeper turned poacher, Mathhew
Parker, after buying print for over 20 years,
now runs his own company and teaches
printers about the print procurement.
He says, "Many print companies
are frustrated that their prospects and
customers do not engage with them
e ectively. I know what it is like to be on
the other side of the game, as a print buyer.
What I see is that most sales approaches I
get from printers are identical. Their only
di erence is what price they are charging.
"It's vital that as a print company, you
make your o ering speci c and valuable
and proprietary. As a print buyer, I am going
to nd these things more interesting and
valuable than just the best price. When the
seller starts selling opn price, there isn't a lot
else you can look at for di erentiation and
it's likely the job will go to the lowest bid.
That's not the smartest or most e ective way
to do business or to negotiate.
If you are having trouble with creating
a productive relationship with your clients
then there are steps you can take. You don't
want to be missing out on extra jobs from
existing clients either.
In my experience, there few companies
in the print industry that use the customer
service role to its full potential. There are
certain expectations you should have of
your sales sta . They should know what the
client expects from them and the client's
should know what your sales sta expect
as well. Those expectations need to be
managed as well so you need to develop
tools to do that.
Communication is vital and it's
important for sales people to understand
the di erent ways of communicating. They
should know when to be proactive with
clients and how to structure discussions.
They should always be working to retain
clients and that means understanding
customer issues so that they can avoid
"So I encourage print companies to
invest time in looking at their sales process
and challenge it where it isn't working. Sales
sta need to follow best practice and they
need to know how to manage customers
and deliver e ective presentations."
IN his day job, Neil Falconer supports printers
in the transition to the digital world and into
cross media services by making them more
competitive in an online world.
He says, "What does it mean to be a
printer? Historically, this baggage of being
a printer, and printing things, is really
holding us back in terms of developing our
businesses. Everything is getting re-imagined
and re-invented. For instance, twitter gives us
instantaneous updates on news.
"So the world is constantly changing but
this isn't so much about the technology, it's
about how we can re-imagine how we can
present things and how we can use data.
"What if this is good as it gets for print?
We have had a good run, a few hundred
years. We are seeing this dynamic change
so what does this mean for your business.
It is getting tougher and tougher each year.
This is really our wake up call for us to re-
imagine and re-focus our businesses because
broadly, revenues are down 20 per cent and
pro tability is down 70 per cent.
"There is so much opportunity in reducing
costs to be the best you can be. How do you
do that? In the UK, the print companies that
are thriving are running ruthlessly e cient
businesses. Their investment is more about
marketing than about print technology. It's
not the technology, it's more a case of what
you are going to do with your technology.
The technology is more around business
processes and marketing than it is about
output devices. The customer is at the centre
of everything they do.
When is the right time to transform your
business? About 60 per cent of the market
don't think they can do that. Less than 12
per cent of the market has already made the
transition. So if you are prepared to do the
hard work and change, then you are ahead of
60 per cent of the market
What are you doing now to build the
future value and pro tability of your business?
It is hard graft, not easily won. For instance
you need your sales people to give proof
about what service you can provide. For
example, 'We achieve a response rate of; we
reduce cost by; I can guarantee that' and so
on. It's about planes and destinations. When
you go to a travel agent, what do want to
hear? Do you want the agent to talk about
what a great plane you will be travelling on?
About how the food service is much quicker?
About how the plane ies faster? No, you
want to know about where you are going: the
beach and the hotel. It's the same with your
print customers. They only want to hear about
the product and the price. They don't care
what technology you are using.
Revisit your business plans and look
at all the opportunities to focus on all the
incremental elements because in the end,
they do add up."
WITH key skills in business development, marketing, large scale
project management and market research, Chris Martin has some
insights to share for print marketing.
He says, "Projections are that online ad spend will grow to half
of global ad spend and right now, 25 per cent of global ad spend is
print. In Europe, we are expecting mobile access to exceed desktop
access. Mobile access is being adopted at three times the pace social
networking and about 200milion web pages are translated each day
on the cloud.
"Nothing much is holding this back. The structure that has existed
for a number of years is changed and our customers are using vdp,
purls and social media to sell to their customers. So we need to
embrace marketing and technology.
"However, if you are going to move into the marketing space,
you have to plan what you are going to do. Get your marketing planning right rst. You need a
marketing plan and that isn't cold calling, telemarketing, emails; it is more than that. You need to
encompass everything you do to attract clients and to keep them coming back. Understand the
problems your customers are dealing with and help them nd solutions to those problems
"The important part is to understand our customers' business. Also, we need to understand
that print is just a consequence of what we do; it is not a driving factor. In the last three years, we
have lost 20 per cent of the print businesses in the UK.
Sell print e ectively
It's hard graft
Know your customer
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