21 November 2010
Print buyers share insights with printers at Print World
TORONTO—Saturday's Print World seminars included the Print Buyers' Panel: What Print Buyers Really Want, featuring a top-tier group of industry members speaking on everything from cold calls to FSC. 

Sponsored by Rogers, the panel included LCBO director, production and process, marketing and consumer insights Mark Greene, House & Home Media production manager Bonnie Cook, and Up Inc. principal and creative director Carey George. 

When it comes to getting through to print buyers, the panel agreed that cold calls are annoying and connections and creativity count. Knowing the company you’re approaching is also key, said Cook. “If a printer has no idea what we print and how often, then I don’t have time to teach them about the magazine,” she said. “I say send me a brochure and I put it in the drawer with all the other printer brochures I have. I like to establish a relationship with a few printers and keep going back to them.”

George, of design firm Up Inc. says bringing in something with a great visual aesthetic is of utmost importance to printers hoping to work with his company. “Designers like to be inspired by production value,” he said. “They feel there is a romance to the printing process.”

Who you approach is as important as what you approach them with, said George. “The influencers in small companies are the designers,” he said. “If you can get a relationship with them you can get to the top people at the company.”

The ability to come to print buyers with fresh ideas, but also be ready to perform on the tried and true is very important, said Cook. “Agencies constantly want us to pitch them with new and novel ideas, but they usually end up doing something like a four-colour gatefold,” she said.

Being FSC-certified is a must for printers working with the LCBO, said Greene. “Eco certification is a big deal for us because we are a big company,” he said. “We settles on FSC as our benchmark because it is something the average consumer knows about.”

The panel also offered tips for sales reps approaching them, which include:

  • Don’t exaggerate: “I need accuracy, a sales rep that will give me the right information,” said Cook.
  • Be honest: “If you say you’re going to do something do it,” said Greene. “If you can’t do it then don’t say that you can.”
  • Keep a good relationship: “I admire reps that serve bad news fresh,” said George. “I don’t like to be kept in the dark about problems. I like to be able to have a candid relationship about the good and the bad news.”

Print World runs until November 22 at the Direct Energy Centre.
For more information, visit Printworldshow.com.
— Val Maloney
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