Written by Ordant on April 29, 2017
Does your company sell printing services? Or do you offer “print solutions”? It’s an important distinction that can have a major impact on your bottom line.
When you offer print solutions, you can legitimately charge higher prices. Whereas a print-service provider is only expected to output whatever file a client submits, the expectations are much higher for companies that promote print solutions.
The term “solutions” suggests that clients can rely on you to provide specialized consulting support that goes above and beyond putting ink on paper. They may expect your firm to help solve problems related to project management, material selection, customization, installation, logistics, or results measurement.
For example: A client will hire a print solutions provider when they need advice on how to design and print a mix of indoor and outdoor banners, pop-up displays, floor graphics, window graphics, backdrops, wayfinding signage, promotional products, and marketing collateral for a major event. The brand colors on all the prints have to match and they must all be delivered and installed in time for the opening of the event.
Jobs can get even trickier if the client also wants you to create attention-getting graphics that will encourage event visitors to immediately view a certain website or share photos through social media. In many cases, clients may expect you to be on top of interactive print technologies such as augmented reality.
Or, a client might ask a print-solutions provider to add special effects such as textured surfaces or printed lenses that make graphics appear to pop off the page. Often, your firm may be asked to provide creative ideas along with technical expertise.
You should also understand how analytics are changing the way brand marketers and retailers operate. They may want to shift tactics in the midst of a campaign if the results aren’t meeting their goals. Or, if one element of the campaign becomes a huge hit, your client may want to act quickly to capitalize on that success. So, your company must always be prepared to shift gears. .
Of course not all buyers will need print solutions related to omni-channel marketing campaigns or unique customer experiences. At the other end of the spectrum are new buyers of print who may not understand how designing jobs for printing differs from designing graphics for online distribution. You may need to offer some one-to-one training or develop educational materials that can be downloaded from your website. Educating your customers can be an effective way of earning trust and repeat business.
Bringing Value to Your Customers
Any company equipped with one or more professional-quality printing devices can sell printing services. When you seek customers who simply want to output some files, you must be prepared to compete on price, convenience, and turnaround time.
But if your team includes some proven creative, technically proficient problem-solvers, your company can build a base of loyal customers who will pay higher prices for your company’s expertise and willingness to tackle new challenges.
But here’s something important to keep in mind. It will be hard to convince a client that you can help them solve 21st century marketing problems if you use old-fashioned methods for running your business. If your processes for estimating, order management, proof approval, shipping, and invoices are slow and full of glitches, your customers will notice. They may lose confidence that your company is really prepared to help with some of their more complicated marketing challenges. .
So before you start promoting your company as a provider of print solutions, it’s smart to streamline your own operations and eliminate errors that can cause delays in production, collaboration, delivery, and invoicing. An efficient, cloud-based print-business management system such as Ordant can make it very easy for clients to work with you. When your employees aren’t repeatedly answering routine questions about pricing or the status of work in progress, they can spend more time learning new skills and finding creative ways to solve problems for your customers.
At Ordant software, we have helped a lot of printing companies become much more efficient in everyday business operations so they can confidently compete for higher-margin work. We can help your company, too. For a demonstration of our tools for estimating, order management, purchasing, proof approval, customer-relationship management, invoicing, and web-to-print services visit ordant.com