Sieze The Day

Why are you finding it hard to increase sales? Do you feel undervalued by your customers? Are you just an interchangeable supplier competing on price?……..the answer is usually yes to some degree or another for all print companies and suppliers. The big question is ” where are you looking for opportunity” and it is about opportunity……customer value……and not the easy option of being able to quote on an existing specification. Ask yourself and your sales people what markets are you an expert in and why? Printers and suppliers have to change their approach to the market and I’ll give you an example of why.

I was dragged along to the national Baby Show at the NEC, as my son and his wife were expecting their first child. I have had no contact with this market or any baby type stuff for nearly thirty years. So as you can imagine I was a somewhat skeptical and reluctant participant, based on the fact I am now an aging cynical consultant who was about to be parted from the contents of his wallet.

Much to my surprise it was a really engaging experience, not because of the endless baby paraphernalia, like prams and push chairs …….I stand corrected, a baby and infant travel system which cost three times more than my first car (apologies, grumpy old man stuff) but because of my focus on all the print and marketing collateral activities….I know, I need to get a life but we all do it in this trade, it’s ok you can admit it …. you’re among friends.

The baby market has very different products and a very different approach to its customers and crucially the customers are prepared to splash the cash in conjunction with a wider family group i.e. Me a prospective grandparent. What amazed me was that looking at the marketing collaterals not a single printer had approached this market with any understanding of what the client was trying to achieve with their print and had not offered any solutions beyond print or to integrate print with other media.

The Pampers stand was giving away a free bucket of goodies and nappies, in order to get them you had to take a leaflet and then register on their website at the show. They had a queue of about 60 or so couples, mainly pregnant women of varying sizes waiting to sit on bean bags to fill in a form on six small netbooks. Why didn’t the leaflet have a QR code which took you directly to the database form which could be accessed on a smart phone…. a much quicker and easier solution. Did the printer not sell this as an option to Pampers……did the printer not offer to Manage the database and then send out some personalized information after the event to reinforce the relationship, introduce them to more products and services. On virtually every stand it was a similar approach of endless form filling……could a printer not have approached the show organizers on their own or with a partner to provide a scanning solution to capture data on each stand and then offer a coordinated approach to personalized print services after the event. There was also a wide variation in quality and sophistication of the print marketing and signage on the stands. Probably a lot of last minute decisions being made when approaching deadlines for putting the stands together. So I’m asking the question………

Who’s providing an on demand service for this market?

Who’s the print expert in this area?

Who wants to be the print expert in this area?

How many other markets are there like this out there?

At the same time the Fitness and Muscle show was on at the NEC……I’m betting there were similar opportunities there too. Which trade shows do you attend? Only print shows? Why? Focus on the customer’s markets and the end users to really understand what needs to be done. We all need to concentrate our focus not outside of the box but around the edges of the box. Start looking at new markets…..connecting with them…….understanding them and tailoring your products and services to them.

Well what are you waiting for an invitation……..go seize the day.


Neil Falconer – Print Tribe

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