Commercial Print ? More than Meets the Eye
Commercial print distributors offer a full line of print management services to create a profitable edge.
When it comes to commercial print, distributors say that substantial profitable margins are not found simply in the print production of four-color materials. Rather, providing customers with complete print management solutions—from ideation and design to logistics and warehousing—will give distributors the winning edge.
Faisal Ahmad, president and CEO of Dallas-based USFI, said that the company was founded in 1984 as a traditional forms distributorship, but eventually evolved into a full-service marketing communications company. "We are in a changing market. Industries are looking for much broader solutions than forms or even traditional commercial printing," he said.
Ahmad noted that USFI provides complete end-to-end solutions for its commercial print clients. "We begin by developing strategies. We execute graphic design elements, and we also provide warehousing and logistical services, as well as inventory management," he explained.
Founded in 1988, Pittsburgh-based Communifax, a provider of fully integrated consumer marketing programs, provides traditional commercial printing for large retailers. The company began developing loyalty marketing programs, and soon evolved into a direct marketing company, offering clients a host of business solutions, according to founder and CEO Jeff Battin.
Much like USFI, print management for Communifax includes a selection of services. According to the company, the process begins with a thorough evaluation of clients' needs, followed by marketing research and a competitive analysis. "Today, about half of our employees work in our analytical data group," said Battin. "We manage large databases of consumers for our clients."
When it comes to generating new commercial print customers, Ahmad and Battin employ a variety of creative techniques. "We gain many of our new customers through referrals and by presenting seminars to various business groups," explained Ahmad. "While these seminars are informative for attendees, they also serve as excellent public relations opportunities for us," he said. "Targeting companies that do a fair amount of commercial business, such as the retail and real estate industries, has also proven effective."