Over the past several years, there has been much written about how printers are changing the perception of their service from one of a contractor that “puts ink on paper” to one that is a “marketing service provider.” Surveys have been done, and other blog posts have discussed the need for printers to “up the game” and become more of a solution provider.
This remains a very valid point, but for printers to be able to attract new customers, or upsell more in their existing client base, it’s as important to understand the changes in print buying as it is to understand the changes in print selling.
A New Normal in Print Buying
The role of print buyers is continuing to evolve, with more and more having a variety of responsibilities other than print. Today’s print buyer is often a communications specialist working in marketing, advertising, or some combination of both. They’re often responsible for not only coordinating the production of print pieces, but the results of those print pieces and the impact they have on the business.
While this changes the dynamics of the conversation, it also gives printers a huge opportunity to enhance their value. A more traditional print buyer is concerned with cost per page, turn time, and reliability of the printer they work with. That makes it more difficult to offer an innovative solution, because a traditional print buyer won’t look at the design or the media the same way a marketing professional will.
However, by leveraging the vision of these new print buyers, printers can take advantage of their market experience to create more specific and targeted print pieces. These buyers expect more creative print concepts from their printers, and will be more open to unfamiliar media than the traditional buyer.
A Focus on the Big Picture
The additional advantage to a marketing print buyer is that it gives the printer a better opportunity to increase their value, and strengthen their relationship at a corporate level. Marketing employees generally work with all departments within an organization, and will often be looking for a printer that can help deliver an overall message across all facets of the organization.
As more senior level experienced print buyers approach retirement, a new generation of print buyers are on the horizon. Printers who have experience with a variety of equipment, markets, and substrates will be the go-to for the upcoming and future print buying professionals.
So, does the future of print buying belong to marketing? We’d love to hear what you think!