Last week I took part in a fascinating webinar entitled, “Do Modern Print Buyers Have New Expectations of Their Printers?” This live 60-minute event on November 5th was sponsored by Canon USA. It was offered by Printing Impressions and moderated by Mark Michelson.
At the top of the hour, I gave a short presentation of the results of a print buyer study I conducted with John Zarwan. If the 40-page report on this study (available for purchase on my site) is the Book, then this presentation was a Tweet.
I painted a profile of modern print buyers: who they are, where they work, and what they want from the industry. It set the tone for the next part of the hour.
Then two print buyers weighed in. They answered questions posed by Mark Michelson and a few more submitted by webinar attendees. The panelists were Liz Howitt of John Hancock Financial Services and Jeff Dickerson of State Farm Insurance. Both are print buying veterans, and both (coincidentally) have some experience on the ‘other side of the fence.’
What stopped me cold early on in this webinar was something Jeff said: “I want print to thrive.” This is a common sentiment among many print buyers. It’s important that printers are aware of it. The print industry and their customers are on the same side of the table. Doesn’t this mean something? I think it does.
I’m planning on writing some of what I learned from these buyers in future posts. What’s key for today’s post are these facts:
- “Print buyer” is a term I use to describe the role of professionals who source print for their employer. It doesn’t traditionally include designers, and we’re not talking about consumers. I use the term to keep it simple. Buyers self identify with this term, regardless of their titles.
- Every print buyer is different. Liz Howitt made this point, and it deserves repeating. Yes, there are trends to be acknowledged (that’s my job – to get them out there), but printers still need to know their customers.
- Print buyers who are baby boomers are very different from those who are Millennials.
- We’re not really sure how Millennials view or feel about the print industry. They’re harder to identify and poll. I’d love to do it.
This event was a valuable experience for buyers, giving them a place to voice their opinions and be heard. It’s clearly valuable for the hundreds of listeners, most of whom, I suspect, were printers.
Here’s to more and more of them.
© 2015 Margie Dana