Printing is one of the largest areas of expense for most companies. According to Printing Industries of America, Global 2000 companies spend close to three percent of their annual revenues on print production. Each year American businesses purchase billions of dollars’ worth of brochures, catalogs, direct mail, packaging, point-of-sale materials and other print collateral.
Many companies are hoping to reduce marketing costs by increasing spending in digital channels and social media. However, print continues to play an important role in successful businesses’ overall marketing mix. It is critical that you reach your customers how and where they want to get their messages. And, provide multiple channels of access to your services.
How do you keep marketing costs at a minimum and keep your company focused on what you do best? Outsource.
The first step is to identify potential companies by searching local directories, reviewing company websites (like this one), and getting referrals from other companies.
The next step is – do your homework. Interview potential print companies. Ask questions about what services they provide and their ability to meet your company’s specific needs. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- How long have they been in business?
- Are they financially stable?
- Is their culture and business style compatible with yours?
- Do they have the geographic reach your business needs?
- Do they have integrated, online systems that deliver real-time data?
- Are their services scalable?
- Will they provide specific service guarantees?
- Can they customize their services to meet your unique requirements?
- Who are their trusted business partners?
- How are they integrated with other suppliers to provide you one point of contact?
I like to recommend testing the print firm with a small project first. This helps learn more about their communication, customer service and “people skills”.
Then before signing a contract to outsource your company’s print needs, make sure it clearly defines responsibilities and performance criteria, outlines confidentiality rules and includes procedures for severing the relationship if the service doesn’t meet your expectations.
Outsourcing isn’t for everyone. But my bet is you’ll find it will let you do more with less, freeing a substantial portion of your company’s budget to put to more productive use.