Marketers are skeptical about sharing too much information with their service providers. We get it. We know you have budget guidelines and other proprietary information about your business that should be held close to the vest.
And yet when you start a relationship with a new commercial printing company, there’s information you have that they need in order to provide the best care, the best service, and the best products they’re capable of manufacturing.
Not that we’re seriously comparing printers with medical doctors, but picture this: you visit a medical specialist for the first time. This doctor comes highly recommended by someone you trust. There’s no way on Earth that the doctor can diagnose your condition or treat it effectively unless you come clean with your medical history and your symptoms. You wouldn’t think of holding back key information.
When you meet with a sales rep or the owner of a commercial printing company to discuss a new project – but most definitely when discussing a major marketing campaign – you’re making a huge mistake by acting all coy and revealing as little detail or history as possible.
Many marketers who are new to working with printers tend to act this way. Their thinking goes like this: “If I tell this printer too much, if I share too much detail about budgets and long-range plans and other related projects we’re working on, we’ll get screwed! It’ll open the door to their hiking up their prices and selling us unnecessary services.”
This makes no sense. Without trusting your printer, you can’t possibly get the best solution for your project. Providing you’ve vetted this printer and determined it’s the right partner for your company, you need to share as much information as possible – as you do with your doctors – so your printer can come up with the most effective way to deliver what you need.
Here are six tips to guide you when meeting with a printer for the first time:
Share whatever you can about budgets. If you have a small budget, you’ll find out pretty quickly what you can and cannot afford.
Talk about related print materials that could affect this project. Bring samples if you have them. Color matching is critical, and stock choices may be a consideration as well.
What’s your deadline? This might be the most important detail of all, yet marketers often forget to tell their printer.
Discuss fulfillment concerns and requirements. What’s involved in this campaign? What will you need from this printer? How are the materials being distributed?
Be upfront about past experiences with commercial printers, if they exist. Printers are not created equal. If you’ve had a bad experience, let your new printer know.
Finally, be honest about what you don’t know, what you need done, what you expect, and what your concerns may be.
In a perfect world, marketers prefer to have long-term business relationships with a few commercial printers. The only way this can happen is if you have honest conversations with your printer from the start. Use some caution as you enter a new relationship, but be careful not to withhold information that will contribute to your project’s success.