Almost exclusively, my clients are in the printing industry. When I ask a new client what makes his or her commercial print company special, I hear “Service” a lot. They say this with conviction. But there’s some bristling when I question them on what exactly they mean. I can’t help it; I hear it all the time.
There’s only one thing that makes a printing company different from another, and that’s its people.
Regardless of how fantastic your service is, how magnificent your presses are, how efficient your production workflow may be, how fast you deliver, or how low your prices are — you have competition.
So unless your employees can be in two places at once, they are your aces-in-the-hole.
And because business print buyers (as opposed to consumers) like building lasting relationships with the people at printing companies, printers should find ways to feature their employees.
Start with your sales and service reps. Make their skills and other specialties known. You can do this on your web site, in blogs and in newsletters, on Facebook and your company LinkedIn page, in email marketing efforts, and in direct mail. You could do short videos that feature different team members. Let people know whom they’ll be working with. Impress them.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about industry professionals that got my attention:
- A CSR with not one but two degrees from RIT;
- A rep who volunteers his time every week playing music at a home for the elderly;
- A company owner who has decades of experience working in the paper industry;
- A sales manager who used to be prepress manager at other companies, making him a tech/preflight expert;
- A prepress specialist who’s earned IDEAlliance’s Mail Pro Certification;
- Service reps who are gourmet chefs and who rebuild cars.
Such expertise, or industry experience, adds value to your company’s reputation. Some employees may have deep roots in the industry; others may have outside passions that customers will identify with. Either way, sharing more information about them gives dimension to your company.
Individual sales reps may mention certain skills in their prospecting materials, but what about everyone else in your company? How is word getting out about these jewels in your crown?
Work it. As you develop materials and publish regular content to promote your company and build your community, find ways to feature the one thing that’s truly unique: your people.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com
This article originally appeared in Printing Impressions.