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How to Differentiate Yourself as a Commercial Printer

After one heck of a year, most of us spent the last couple of weeks in 2020 resting and resetting in preparation for 2021. The goals for the commercial printer may look a little different than in years past, but one thing holds true – success partly depends on the ability to differentiate yourself. Read on for four ways to differentiate yourself as a commercial printer.

Be Their Person

Strengthening your relationships with customers by establishing yourself as the “go-to” for all their needs ensures that they stick with you – rather than leaving for a competitor. No one is suggesting that you embark on costly equipment acquisition – rather coordinate printing or finishing techniques with your partners on behalf of your customers (instead of having them figure that stuff out themselves).  Not only does this strategy help support the business of your industry partners, but it also helps customers save time and eliminate any stress associated with working with new (and sometimes unknown) vendors.

Adapt To Your Customer’s Needs

In the most recent edition of Paper Matters, adapting to customers’ needs (and embracing new print technologies) contributed to the success of KUBRA.  KUBRA is a billing and payments company that offers both paper and electronic options and its goal is to provide clients with super-fast, flexible service. One way they accomplished this was by switching from toner-based printing to inkjet. The push came from one of their larger customers, who wanted to use color for paper billing. KUBRA took this challenge on – and it’s paying off for them. Be sure to check out the latest issue of Paper Matters to learn more.

The moral of this story is this: Talk to your customers. Learn how COVID has impacted their business. Discuss how you can do things differently. Be open to doing things differently. Who knows what success you may find by adapting?

Supply On Demand

All signs point to there being an increase in digital printing in the coming year. As a commercial printer, I am sure most of you have embraced the addition of digital equipment in your shops. With budgets being cut across all verticals, marketers are going to look at ways to do more with less. One of these ways is by doing shorter runs of collateral – which is a great fit for digital printing. (Speaking digital printing, have you seen this Gallery sample?)

Additionally, 2021 will be the year for people, people, people meaning that marketers will be focused on understanding people more and putting them at the center of their plans. There is no better way to make customers feel important than by personalization via print. Digital printing provides the tools for that personalization.

Looking to do more with digital printing? Check out How to Spec The Right Paper for Digital Printing.

Give Digital Marketing A Friendly Embrace

As a commercial printer, customers will still want to see printed samples – but now may be a good time to grow your digital marketing efforts. The first step is to make sure all of your company’s information is updated online. This includes business hours, addresses and phone numbers. Another super easy thing to do is set up a LinkedIn profile (or update the one you have). Many of my sales colleagues have found great success in connecting with potential customers through LinkedIn. We featured a great blog about this subject last year.

There is a great opportunity to retain customers (or even gain new ones) by investing in a customer-facing digital storefront. Due to the events of the last year, we have all grown more accustomed to shopping online. At the very least, give customers a way to place, track and repeat orders online.  The business climate will only become more competitive, so you want to make sure you do what you can to retain customer loyalty.

Looking for more tips? Check out our podcast Tips for Printers in a Post-COVID World.

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