printing industry marketing

Get Better Results from Fewer Marketing Programs

Marketing Makes the Difference

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We find the number one challenge for printing companies to develop great marketing and sales programs is time and focus. For smaller companies, success is seldom about the size of marketing budgets or the number of marketing initiatives being managed. With the day to day pressures of satisfying customers and getting work out, many marketing activities are often relegated to a low priority. This is counter-intuitive because without marketing there can be no sustained growth.

There are more choices than ever for businesses. For instance, for many small printers, maintaining and regularly creating new content for a great web site, pushing content to multiple social media sites, managing Google ads, maintaining an eCommerce site, participating in business networks, keeping up with LinkedIn, hosting a customer event or two, driving Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as well as other forms of marketing is just “too much”. The time and focus needed to manage everything possible is daunting.

Recently we researched printing company web sites. It was interesting to find so many not well maintained, displaying broken links and errors. A poor web site will create a negative perception for a perspective customer and may cause them not to place a call for a quote. This helps prove the point that it is better to do a few things very well than to do many things poorly.

Before spending any money or exerting any effort on marketing, here are 10 questions to answer. The answers will help narrow down your program to a “vital few”.

Ten Questions

  1.     What is your company’s story? How did you get to where you are now?
  2.     What do your sell that generates the most sales and profits?
  3.     Are you a technology company, a service company, or a PRINTING company
  4.     Who are your customers?
  5.     How do your customers describe what you do and how you make them successful?
  6.     What are your company advantages?
  7.     How much is the company willing to spend on marketing and sales?
  8.     Based on the answers above, list and prioritize every marketing and sales initiative
        that the company could possibly implement
  9.     Pick 1, 2 or 3 of the top initiatives that can supported and maintained
  10.     Monitor progress regularly and adjust as required

Whatever is decided upon, the approach should be: do it well. The advantage of doing a few things well is that they can be easily scaled up or down as required. For instance, one company may do well a robust eCommerce site, an aggressive Search Engine Optimization program and a well-managed in bound and out bound telemarketing team. While another print provider may want to focus on a direct sales team, customer events and a dynamic web site.

If something is working, then increase it. On the other hand, if an initiative is getting tired or simply not working, replace it with a new program. Doing a few things well builds a great brand and generates results.

Joe Rickard is the founder of Intellective Solutions. Intellective Solutions (www.intellectives.com) is a consulting and training company. They work with printing and technology organizations to improve their sales, marketing and operational effectiveness.  Contact Joe by calling 845 753 6156.

Three Must Do's Before Planning Your Customer Event

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There is no better way to get closer to customers and prospects than a successful customer event or open house.

Many marketing pros and salespeople cringe at the idea of another customer event. This is because many events have failed to produce results. It can be a frustrating experience when a customer event ends up being an expensive party that produces no business.

A successful event depends on a number of variables. Yes, themes, story-lines and the invitation process are very important. We have worked with a variety of printing and in plant organizations to promote customer events and open houses. There are a few key than many organizations forget to complete before they even begin planning their event.

Here are three essential steps to take before planning and executing the details of a customer event.

1. Create a simple and specific objective for the event.

A broad sweeping goal such increase customer interest in our services or launch our new product is not good enough. As the planning process develops, it often becomes unclear why the organization is having the event in the first place. Objectives such as, increase our pipeline by 25% or 10 additional customers for our new solution helps keep everyone focused on the same objective.

2.  Get an approved budget before you start.

Knowing how much money and internal resources are available will help tailor the theme, size and scope of the event. There is nothing more frustrating than running out of money or internal resources prior to the completion of all the planning steps. Getting the budget requires a sign-off by management. Once the budget is approved then the task is managing it rigorously to ensure getting the greatest return for investment.

3.  Get everyone on the “bus”.

Before moving forward, it is vital to get every employee who will potentially influence and work on the event to be committed. No marketing or sales effort can be successful without the entire organization pulling the same direction. That means production people, finance, customer service in addition to management, marketing and sales must do their part. Getting a commitment from all before planning the details will ensure success.

A recommendation to all event planning managers, don’t start planning and executing until these three steps are completed.

For those who need marketing resources for their events, see our cross media invitation marketing services http://www.intellectives.com/open-house-cross-media-services/