Be Commercially Distinct In Print
Distributors find that there's more than one way to sell commercial printing.
While distributors agree that commercial printing is an excellent market, no two have exactly the same philosophy on how to best serve clients. However, rather than being a source of discord, this difference of opinion enables distributors to successfully conduct business in their respective niches. For example, the following four distributors attribute 25 percent to 60 percent of their sales to commercial printing and each have distinct methods of servicing clients. By the fiscal year's end all four companies grossed between $10 million and $70 million in sales last year, proving there's no one way to get the job done.
Take on Design
Source4, Roanoke, Va., offers its clients complete service from end to end, with the latest developments being in design. "Seven years ago we offered typesetting and some layout," said Rodney Jefferson, vice president. "Now we meet with clients, just as an ad agency would, and ask what they want to accomplish and what market they're targeting."
Source4 has expanded its services not only in response to the needs of clients, but also as a means of retaining control over the commercial printing process. "When we bid on jobs we were simply quoting and hoping. But we're a relationship-oriented business, and bidding wasn't our style," said Jefferson.
As such, Source4 now seeks to add value to relationships with clients by providing design, production, mailing and distribution services. The company also has its own Heidelberg presses and personalization and warehousing capabilities. In addition, clients are offered the use of a Web-based procurement solution called Inventory Management and Global Exchange (IMAGE), which allows retail locations to requisition printed products online. Jefferson noted that some potential clients require that the distributor offer these value-added services before they even begin the request for proposal (RFP) process.