If you’re a marketer who’s looking for a new print partner – one who’ll help you create and produce effective campaigns – how do you know when you’ve found the right one?
While the working relationship with a printer is important, developing one takes time. Before you enter into an agreement and trust your first job with a commercial printer, you’ll be interviewing someone, possibly by phone but hopefully in person. Typically, this will be a salesperson. So we suggest you ask targeted questions in this conversation. Get your list ready ahead of time. Find out what you can from the company’s website, and speak with colleagues in your industry if you know they’ve worked with this particular printer.
You need to be specific with your questions. Don’t waste time with things like, “How’s your service?” because everyone will say, “Great!”
Here are the 6 questions every marketer should ask a prospective printer:
- Are you involved in working with multichannel marketing campaigns and omnichannel campaigns? Tell me about your experience with these.
You want to work with a company that’s experienced in integrating effective marketing campaigns for their customers. This means they have experts on staff (marketing, data analysis, digital printing) and have invested in related technologies. This conversation is critical. Do they truly understand the components of a marketing campaign? Ask about recent examples and their involvement. Ask for the names of their experts, and when you’ve time, check out their LinkedIn profiles. Ask questions about how their team members stay on top of the latest marketing automation technologies and trends.
- What are your digital printing capabilities? Do you offer integrated campaigns that combine digital with print components?
It’s important to know how much digital equipment they have, and whether they offer any digital enhancements to marketing pieces. Can they match your company colors on their digital equipment? What formats can they handle? Do they print envelopes digitally as well? A printer’s digital capabilities should be extensive.
- How strong are your data processing capabilities? How long has your company been involved in data processing and how do you handle your data?
Most of your campaigns will be personalized and many will comprise multiple components. You’ll be trusting commercial printers with your most sensitive customer and company data. Find out if data management and analysis is a strength. r
- Do you have on-site mailing and fulfillment capabilities? Describe some recent mail campaigns you’ve engineered.
Most of the large commercial printers have sophisticated mailing departments, and that’s definitely a capability you’re looking for. Find out how big and how skilled their mailing team is and whether there’s someone at the helm who’s literally a mailing specialist. Again, go to LinkedIn after the interview and check them out.
- What can you tell me about a recent marketing campaign you produced for a client? Why was this campaign so successful and what was your involvement?
A printer who’s comfortable discussing marketing campaigns and who has sufficient experience will be able to provide a great deal of detail on a campaign he or she’s worked on.
- Tell me about the breadth of your offset capabilities. What is your short-term and long-term plan for growth and development?
This line of questions will get a printer to share the company’s growth strategy. How have they improved service and strengthened their capabilities year over year? A company that stands still for years is not a leader.
These questions might not seem like obvious ones for interviewing a commercial printer, but marketers need to work with printers who are highly experienced in shaping and measuring marketing campaigns. If you ask these questions, you’ll know if a company is sufficiently skilled in all of the services you require.
We would like to answer questions about these and any other capabilities. Please contact us today.