Increasing Our Value to Clients: A Must
As the latest labor market data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics starkly reminds us, while the economy may be showing some signs of improvement, the recovery remains subpar. Jobs on Nonfarm payrolls increased by only 88,000 in March—significantly below expectations. And while the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.6%, the decline resulted from a large drop in the labor force. The consensus forecast from Blue Chip Economic Indicators has inflation-adjusted GDP rising just 1.9% in 2013. In comparison, for the 20 years prior to the Great Recession, GDP growth averaged 3.0%. However, even if the economy were on a more robust growth path, we should not be counting on it as a key pathway to success. Remember, in the commercial printing industry, “a rising tide is no longer lifting all boats.”
In an industry as highly competitive as commercial printing increasing our value to clients is no longer a luxury; it has become a necessity. We can no longer count on client loyalty or excelling at the status quo. Our clients are evolving and so are their communication needs. As a State of the Industry participant put it so well, “If you aren’t constantly looking for new ways to help clients communicate more efficiently [with their clients] you will probably fail.” This requires that we understand their world better than the competition does. What are their communications needs? What services would provide the most value?
Fortunately, this is high on the list of what companies cited as having to do in order to be successful. Among the companies we survey, almost seven out of ten (68.3%) cited, “Increase our value to clients by understanding their business better and offering the services they value most,” as one of the most important actions in order to achieve success. See the table below from the recently released NAPL Printing Business Conditions.
But while a sizable majority recognized the importance of making our clients more successful, less than one-third (31.7%) noted the importance of showing clients why they benefit from working with us. It is important to note: This is an integral part of the process. Assuming that clients are fully aware of the value being provided can prove costly. For starters, if they’re aware of the value, they’re less likely to shop around as they’re more inclined to treat your services as being customized.
Andy Paparozzi Joe Vincenzino