It’s About Doing, Not Waiting I
In the current challenging business environment, too many companies are waiting for something to happen to improve results—a better economy, further consolidation to lessen competition, a can’t miss hot market, etc. However, as we stress in the recently released NAPL State of the Industry Report, Eleventh Edition (sponsored by KBA), the economy will not improve enough to solve anyone’s problems. Consolidation won’t solve our problems, either. In fact, despite fewer printers—NAPL estimates the number of commercial printing establishments in 2012 at 25,242, almost 5,500 fewer than 2007—competition has intensified. We must now compete in new ways with people we never had to compete before. Bottom line: Success in our new industry is about what are we doing for ourselves—not what the economy, consolidation, or the next big thing is going to do for us. Success is about doing, not waiting.
Among things we can be doing in order to turn challenges into opportunity and win market share—establish ourselves as experts. Margins for error are shrinking, not just in the commercial printing industry, but also across the economy. Technology is not just impacting our industry; it’s making the whole economy more competitive and complex. Clients and prospects must justify every dollar they spend and are therefore looking for experts who understand their problems and can solve them. Given the pressure on margins, they’re looking for experts who can get it right the first time. Our opportunity is to establish ourselves as that expert.
As we discuss in the NAPL State of the Industry Report, we have more ways than ever to do that through a social media strategy, blog, company website, e-newsletter, YouTube channel, etc. The aim is to make clients and prospects smarter and more confident in their buying decisions. But establishing ourselves as experts is not the end game. In fact, understanding a client’s problems and solving those problems even isn’t enough. We must also:
• Document our contributions to their success; never assume that they’re recognized.
• Make the documentation as specific as possible. How much money or time was saved? How much did the return to a direct mail campaign increase?
Andy Paparozzi Joe Vincenzino