We are very excited to be featuring the invaluable industry advice from print expert Matthew Parker, founder of Print and Procurement - a training, consultancy and e-book company. Matthew’s years of experience allow him to offer highly valued insight and advice on how businesses can optimise growth within the web-to-print industry. We hope you enjoy the blog!
A common question I see is: How come it’s so hard to sell web-to-print these days, when it’s such a powerful solution?
Web-to-print is a very effective way of making a printing company’s customer more efficient. Administration time and costs are reduced. Expensive mistakes from incorrect data entry disappear. Fees for amending artwork are banished. Reporting becomes much easier. In addition, corporate brand guidelines are safeguarded.
Unfortunately, nearly everyone has heard this message before. It’s the way most printing companies (and many web-to-print companies) sell these systems. Most people have been educated that you buy web-to-print as a cost reduction tool. The focus is all on workflow improvement and efficiency savings. These are all good reasons to buy a web-to-print system, but printing companies have been using this message for a long, long time.
Buyers have grown tired of printing companies selling on service and quality. They are growing equally tired of hearing sales pitches about web-to-print making their business more efficient. It is a message that is too common to be memorable.
It’s time to think about how to sell web-to-print in a way that will achieve better engagement from your prospects and customers.
Web-to-print isn’t just about efficiency: it’s a tool to help your customers sell more
Web to print has helped a number of companies expand their businesses. It has opened up new markets for them. It has given them a way to expand their product range.
However, few printing companies actually sell these benefits of web-to-print. Those that focus on how companies can increase products and introduce new revenue streams will typically receive much more engagement with customers. They will find it easier to create stronger relationships. They will create a way to control a greater element of their client’s print spend. They are more likely to achieve their sales goals and targets.
Companies that continue to sell web-to-print with the traditional sales message of savings and efficiencies will find it harder to achieve their sales goals. Their prospects will have nearly all heard this message before. So it will be harder to create a worthwhile relationship. It will be harder to control the prospect’s journey through the sales pipeline.
There are many case studies of how web-to-print has helped companies successfully develop new products and sales:
The gift market has managed to increase its revenues and profit margins substantially by personalizing its products. The trouble is that many suppliers are struggling to create personalised gifts that stand apart from the competition.
One site that has used web-to-print to help solve this problem is start-up company, PrintMySmile.com. The have developed a range of chocolate cards and truffle gift boxes. They used web-to-print to create actual personalised packaging, rather than the typical printed personalised sleeve that goes over a box of chocolates. This has created an offering where the personalisation feels part of the product. It stands out from other offerings in the market.
Web to print can be used to help companies offer a whole range of personalised gifts, including photo-products, wall art, tableware and even wallpaper.
Packaging is another highly effective way to make a purchase feel special and personal, while also creating stand out on the shelf for brands. It is another way to help companies raise prices, revenues and turnover. We have already looked at chocolate boxes in the gift section. Personalised boxes can be created for many different products.
Food and drink producers are beginning to use branded web-to-print templates for both packaging and labels. They allow the easy production of variable offers. They allow brands to react swiftly and launch offers with specific languages, pricing and designs.
Web-to-print also allows people to buy individually labeled items. Coca-Cola has had huge success from creating personalised bottles with individual’s names on them. There are also very large markets both for personal gifts and for corporate events. One advantage of web-to-print is that it ensures that all the right wording is included to make sure that the labels comply with all the relevant food and drink legislation.
Web-to-print doesn’t have to be restricted to paper and board packaging. It can be used for a wide variety of products. For example, it is perfectly possible to use it to create personalized tins. Remember also that web-to-print can help speed up the personalisation process. A number of these solutions are available at retail outlets. The customer creates the packaging on a tablet or at a store-owned screen, and they can then take the personalised product away with them.
Web-to-print can also create a much more personalised publishing experience. There are now a number of books, especially in the childrens’ market, which can be personalised at the time of ordering.
Web-to-print can also be used to allow customers to order exactly the content that they want. One example of this is publisher Musicroom. They use web-to-print to allow customers to select the music that they wish to include in their book. The customer can then personalise the cover and choose the binding. This creates an entirely new product and revenue stream for the company.
Web-to-print is evolving to create a new customer experience
The focus is now on the product and the end user. It is moving away from workflow and efficiencies. Naturally, workflow and efficiency is still important. It’s just that these are taken as standard in today’s web-to-print world.
This changes the way that printing companies can sell solutions like this. They have an opportunity to help their customers shape their business strategies . This creates the chance to develop a new level of relationship. But some printers are wary of these new opportunities.
Aren’t printing companies’ manufacturers rather than business advisers?
If printers continue to think of themselves to think of themselves purely as manufacturers they are doomed to stay in the commodity price trap. Developing a sales proposition that helps their customers increase business means that they can escape this trap.
Yes, this requires a new type of sales approach. It is an approach that creates a more valuable relationship. It is an approach that allows printers to create products that are more highly valued and come with a better profit margin.
Here are three action points so you can help your customers create new products
1. List three or four of your existing customers that need help in developing a wider product range or new unique products
2. Talk to them and find out what they want to achieve from their products
3. Brainstorm three new product ideas for them. Your web-to-print provider should be able to help with this
Isn’t this a better strategy than giving your prospects the same old message about cost reduction and efficiency?
Find out how our solutions, and in-house digital marketing agency, can help you create new products that will help your customers grow their businesses.
August 4th 2017