Today’s inkjet technologies promise efficient production at the speed of light with print quality that gets better and better every day. But how do you sell the benefits of your latest investment to new customers, be it a new market or the next generation of print buyer?
It’s honestly not as difficult as you think. Although the “print is dead” mantra was something heard regularly at design and marketing events a decade ago, there’s been a shift in recent years where the benefits of print—from the high average response rates of direct mail to the trusted nature and authority that the medium conveys—have been touted by experts with no affiliation to the print industry. The result? A goldmine of customers with renewed awareness in print that are interested in including it as part of their next omni-channel campaign.
Here are a few tips on selling production inkjet to the next generation of print buyers:
- Revolve the conversation around what matters to them. One of the worst experiences for a print buyer of any generation is to block off time in your day to meet with a new printer only to discover that they know nothing about your business. Instead of beginning the conversation about the features of your new inkjet press, do your homework on their business and revolve the conversation around their business and how your unique capabilities can help.
- Don’t assume that they don’t care about print. This is a common mistake many printers make when selling print to the newer generations. The truth is, just because new generations are digital natives and demand a seamless digital experience when they buy products online doesn’t mean that digital products are the only things that appeal to them. In fact, according to Forbes, millennials lead other generations in reading and prefer print. The tangibility of print combined with the personalization capabilities of inkjet is sure to appeal to a new generation of print buyer.
- Focus heavily on personalization in print. I want to dispel the myth that fancy post press techniques are the main thing that attracts designers and marketers to print. While eye-catching, the number of print jobs that still use post-press techniques are few and far between. As someone who spends a healthy amount of time speaking to designers about print and paper, the number one thing that gets the attention of any creative crowd is personalization. Most of the initial “WOW” moment comes from basic shock factor—most next-generation print buyers do not realize that personalization can go beyond “insert the recipient’s name here.” Once they understand that they can combine the tactile experience of print with the ability to customize messages and images to better appeal to specific personas (like they can with digital marketing), they immediately begin to think about ways to incorporate this “new” technology.
- Be the Guide. For better or worse, many of today’s print buyers didn’t receive the education in print that previous generations did. Even fewer have been exposed to inkjet printing. To avoid any misunderstanding or disappointment, make sure your customer knows what to expect from the end result at the beginning of the project. If possible, show them samples of past projects printed on the various stocks you offer so they can choose the option that’s right for their project. Even better, create a samples book utilizing the same images on the paper options you recommend for an apples-to-apples comparison.
- Focus on Service. Flawless service is one of the main traits that separate the go-to printers from the vendors. Although technology in print is advancing at the speed of light, nothing replaces expertise. Although many marketers and designers are more than willing to do things like save images per your instructions and add bleeds, knowing that experts are on site to make tweaks and adjust the end deliverable to make it the best it can be is priceless. Any service that has the potential to save your client time is something many are more than willing to pay for.
- Tout your victories. What the best way to reach new potential customers? Your current happy customers! This basic notion is nothing new, but the platform is different. According to a recent study, only 8% of millennials consult family or friends before making a purchase, but 8 out of 10 never buy anything without a review. The internet, be it social media or your company’s website, is often the first place customers go to when deciding who they will do business with. Make sure your digital marketing assets are updated, regularly active and feature customer testimonials. Give your current customers incentive to review your business in various online platforms. If possible, include written and video case studies of your biggest successes.
An omni-channel campaign featuring powerful, personalized printed pieces would be a great asset to any brand. As a print service provider, it’s up to you to make your inkjet investment appeal to the next generation so these brands can reach their full potential.
These are just a few tips to help you on your way to selling production inkjet to new customers. You can learn more about production inkjet technology and how paper plays in role in our Inkjet Confessional Column.