Divide and Conquer Commercial Print Products
How to find a comfort level in the growing commercial printing industry.
Commercial print products are so diverse in scope these days that it is tough to pinpoint a precise method for marketing them properly. "Commercial printing is such a broad category that it is difficult to describe a sales formula that works for everyone," said Lindsay Gray, vice president of AccuLink (formerly AccuCopy/Quicktabs), Greenville, N.C. "You might as well ask General Mills to state the best way to market food."
Gray advised distributors in this industry to "divide and conquer" commercial print products. "They need to identify the products and services they can reliably sell and then identify the customers who demand those services," he said. "More often than not, the best place to start is with the existing customer base because there are probably departments within those accounts that are unaware of the distributors' capabilities."
Gray stressed that the most successful distributors will be adept at selling various commercial print products and services—from inventory control to the front-end. If they are lacking comfort and aptitude in this area, they should have the willingness and desire to learn.
"In today's environment, there is no reason why distributors can't handle Web-based ordering of business cards, letterhead and other office consumables, while also handling marketing and sales materials," explained Gray. "They should also be able to develop forms, labels, manuals and other products for their customers' manufacturing needs."
In an industry that—according to Jim Corr, vice president at Newtown and CRW Graphics (divisions of Hippographics), Pennsauken, N.J.—is expected to grow at a rate of 4 percent to 6 percent over the next five years, how can distributors find that comfort level? Staying on top of the learning curve is paramount, according to Gray. "I would suggest that distributors attend the DMIA trade marts and Print Solutions events in order to keep up with the latest trends and manufacturing capabilities," he advised.