Marketing for Printers: Avoid These Pitfalls

I’ve spent the last 21 years providing marketing tools to printers and mailers. In that time, I’ve been able to witness the common issues that seem to derail even the best-intentioned marketing efforts. Here are a few of the most common reasons why they fail:

Treating your marketing efforts as something to be done “when you have time”.  Marketing needs to be planned and executed with the same commitment as other critical areas of your business such as estimating, production, billing, etc.  Schedule your print marketing as you would schedule a customer job. It’s critical.

Taking a committee approach. This is a sure recipe for failure. This will eat up a lot of collective time and effort and produce little, if not zero results. As the saying goes,  “the camel was a horse designed by committee”.  A single person needs to be in charge of your marketing committee and there needs to be accountability. For that reason, the person should not be the president, owner or CEO.

Trying to craft the perfect piece/message is often the reason for doing nothing. As a seasoned print executive once told me, “the act of communicating is sometimes more important than the communication itself”.  Not to say you should produce poor materials but keep this in mind.

Failure to differentiate between sales and marketing. They are two very different things and often someone in our industry has both of these in their title. Baloney! You can’t effectively do both. The end result is that they treat marketing efforts as a sales effort. They execute and measure them wrong. Someone told them years ago, “if you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t do it” so they give up after a short time. More baloney! In reality, just because they don’t have the ability to measure it doesn’t mean it can’t be measured. Large corporations understand this. Particularly with regards to their branding (trust) efforts.

Trying to cut costs by forgoing print and relying on online efforts. You need to do both: inbound and outbound, print and digital. Print has staying power. It’s tangible, and since most companies don’t consistently use it, it’s more effective at setting you apart from your competitors. Keep in mind that just about every print provider has a capabilities brochure but they are merely part of the marketing noise. Engaging customer communication pieces are very uncommon and therefore a much more effective tool.

About Patrick Whelan

Patrick Whelan is President of Great Reach Communications Inc, the leading provider of high quality customer engagement newsletter programs for the printing industry. Patrick has spent the last 17 years providing marketing programs and advice to over 400 print providers throughout North America.

Leave a Reply