Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stop Chasing the Money

As printers expand their services and start competing with other content creators such as ad agencies and PR firms for managed marketing services, they will have to start pricing like their competitors do. The biggest change isn't going to be getting the higher prices, but getting paid up front for the work.

Today in printing, printers are always chasing the money. We work on getting the proof back so we can get the printing done so we can deliver the job so we can wait 45 days for our money. No other industry creates custom work and then charges for it.

The printer who gets involved in managed marketing will get their money faster. Ad agencies, web designers, copywriters, etc., get at least 50 percent of their money up front. Web companies don't even turn on a web site before they are paid in full for their work. Printers who start selling these types of services will be able to do the same thing and get their money up front.

Why get paid before the work is completed? Many of the services will be marketing related. If the idea doesn't work, the blame shouldn't fall on the printer and the penalty be not to be paid. Sometimes the best marketing program can fail, not because of the tools or materials used, but the follow through by the end user. Leads can be generated, but if the customer doesn't follow up on the leads, it isn't going to be successful. Printers don't want to have their money held back because the customer didn't take action.

As successful printers get away from commodity work and move into the higher value managed marketing services, they need to do it right and use the same billing procedures as their competitors. Just think how much more responsive a customer will be if you already have their money and they want their services.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Direction for Quick Printing

The future of printing is exciting! I work for CPrint International and we are ending a year where our affiliates have started evolving into what print shops must become if they are to survive. From mobile marketing to web development to social media management, CPrinters are adding services that help their customers get new leads and businesses.

Print is a strong and proven communication tool, but in today's clutter you have to have more. CPrint is showing people how to use the new technology and to integrate it with printing. The exciting thing is that having new strategies for the customers to use puts CPrinters in a completely different catagory than the printer down the street.

Printers are not usually strong sales people, but the new services are making it easy for CPrinters to get in front of hard-to-reach customers and sell. Instead of talking about how low prices and fast delivery times, CPrinters are starting conversations with customers are how to help grow their business with the new services.

CPrinters are getting excited about printing again. We have products and services that customers want and will pay for. Twenty years ago NAQP had an ad campaign for printers that said "We're more than printing." Today CPrinters are just that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

QR Codes Getting Bigger

If you are looking for something to give you a little credibility with the customer about how big QR codes and mobile marketing is becoming then you will want to check out Google and YouTube.
Google began using QR codes to promote its Local Business service. Google mailed out window stickers with two-dimensional QR codes to the most-searched for or clicked-on businesses in its local business directory. These stickers were sent to more than 100,000 local businesses around the country.
Anyone passing by is able to scan the code and get the Google Mobile local directory page for the Favorite Places. The directory pages generally include a map, a phone number, directions, the address, reviews, and a link to the business’ Web site. Local businesses can also set up coupon offers through their Google directory page, which would turn the QR code into a mobile coupon. Google hopes that consumers who are standing at a store window might be enticed to come in and take advantage of a special offer.

QR codes are going mainstream. A QR code was one of the clues on an episode of CSI New York. The actual scene where the QR code is found and scanned is available on YouTube.com. Just search for "CSI New York QR code." The actor explains what a QR code and demonstrates how to use it with a smartphone. You'll see a little TV magic when the website immediately displays on the smartphone screen, but it does get the point across.

You may not get a lot of customers to bite at using QR codes on their printed material, but it sure does give you a good reason to get out and make a sales call.