Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why Print?

Sometimes printers have a hard time trying to think about what to talk to customers about instead of "you don't need any printing today do you" sales calls. Printing is still one of the most effective and economical ways to reach customers, and if your customer sells something to someone, then they should be using print to touch their customers.

If you are looking for reasons print is important, look no further than the “Why Print” brochure available free from the Print Council. The Print Council produced a 24-page marketing brochure demonstrating the extraordinary value and effectiveness of print communications. Entitled "Why Print?, The Top Ten Ways Print Helps You Prosper", the full-color brochure is the first in a series of materials The Print Council makes available to printers to influence media decision makers' appreciation of the value of print.

Printers are encouraged to download and use any or all of the materials provided in their own marketing materials to underscore the power of print communications.

The Print Council is a business development alliance formed by leaders in the graphic arts industry whose goal is to influence and promote the greater use of print media. Download the artwork for the brochure at the Print Council's web site.

A 24-page brochure may be overkill, but the information is invaluable. You will find facts and ideas to support your blogging efforts, articles for your company newsletter, post cards and much more. You don't need to give all the information away at once. Each of the 10 reasons can be a separate discussion. The information in the "Why Print?" brochure should become part of the list of benefits you tell you customers about during a sales call.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Will Help Printers?

Quark has launched (, a new online web-to-print service that hopes to send online customers to local printers. The special web-to-print service is aimed at small businesses so they can create their own marketing materials that can be picked up at a nearby neighborhood printer or received by mail in just a few days.

Customers go online and use a special online application to create the file. The customer’s order then goes to a commercial printer. Quark is saied to be partnering with franchises such as well as independent printers.

Quark isn't doing the printing and hopes to help printers get more business. The local printers can select to be either a "print by mail" or a "pick up at a neighborhood printer" provider. In both cases, the output provider is determined by the zip code the customer has provided.

According to Quark, if the customer wants the order delivered by mail, the zip code is used behind the scenes to find a prints-by-mail provider in the region. The customer is not provided the opportunity to choose the printer and there is no relationship between the provider and the customer. Packages are shipped blind to the customer.

In the case of neighborhood printing, the zip code is used to display a list of printers near the customer. Matching shops are displayed on a Bing map and in a list. The customer chooses a shop and then completes a typical online ordering process. Prices, included shipping, are set by Quark. The customer also has the option of choosing a printer at a location other than their own if it is more convenient.

Quark offers a webcast for output providers on how the Quark Promote programs work. Send an email request to to see the webcast.

Is this a good program for printers? It is if you are a printer who doesn't want to don't want to talk to customers or try to sell anything. Pricing is controlled by Quark and orders by mail is transparent to the customer. The only real selling opportunity will come if the printer elects to pick up the job locally.

The program is still new, but I haven't seen any money being poured into marketing the program to consumers. Until that happens, it will just be a feel-good program to make printers think they are really part of the web2print world.

My advice is for printers to get out and actually talk to customers and be proactive in selling. Don't wait for a customer to go to a website to pick out templates. Get out there and find out the customers' printing needs.

I do recommend that you take advantage of the program. Former Adobe ASN members can get a free copy of QuarkXpress 8 when they sign up. The offer is good through June 2010.