Here’s a blog I wrote recently for Printing Impressions – and by all means, check it out on their site if only to read all of the comments I got from print customers. Each person makes an excellent point. I hope it convinces those of you who don’t list your equipment to rethink your position.
The question about print customers and a printer’s equipment list comes up often, as it did last week on the webinar I participated in.
During that event, I brought this up because it’s significant. In the recent study I did with John Zarwan, in which we collected data from 315 professional print buyers, 73% of those surveyed said that a printer’s equipment influences their selection of print partners – at least some of the time.
This was particularly true for more experienced print customers. The less experienced buyers are much less interested in what printers have ‘on the floor.’ This makes sense. Most of them don’t know manufacturing equipment. What they care about is your ability to deliver the goods – a combination of print quality and good service, at the price they agreed to pay, and delivered when promised.
In our study, we didn’t drill down to ask specifically whether customers pay attention to presses, primarily, or if they’re influenced by other equipment – like prepress, finishing, and mailing/fulfillment.
Here’s my take.
The veteran print customers are more likely to know what equipment is needed to handle their jobs. When considering a prospective printer, they’ll go to your web site and check out your list. If they need a provider who can do a ton of variable direct mail work, for example, they’ll see if you can handle it. They’ll look at your digital presses and your mailing capabilities.
Now, will they automatically discount you if they don’t see what they’re looking for? Maybe. It really depends on the person.
Keep in mind that many senior-level print customers have experience in print manufacturing. They are sophisticated and astute businesspeople. For this reason, I always recommend that printers post equipment on their site, and if it’s not the usual laundry list of make-and-model, at least it should be a decent description of what you can do – in terms that satisfy a senior buyer looking at your capabilities. Make sense?
Some printers have told me that they simply don’t want to post their equipment. Maybe it’s sharing too much information that their competition can see and use against them? Not sure.
At any rate, knowing that senior print customers are influenced by your equipment would suggest that you make it available.
I’d love to hear your comments on this.
© 2015 Margie Dana