Gimbel & Associates Blog

Want to Really Engage Your Customers? Host an Event!

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Aug 8, 2018 12:42:47 PM

Customer events and open houses are fantastic opportunities for print service providers to demonstrate new capabilities and engage customers. No other promotional or marketing effort can match the impact of interacting with customers in-person at your facility. You’ll have the full attention of attendees and ample opportunities to show them the benefits of working with your firm.

These carefully planned events also allow you to change notions people have about your company and give you a chance to show off the investments you’ve made to handle your customers print and digital communication demands. If changing customer relationships is part of your business plan, an open house or similar affair is an ideal way to launch the effort.

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Topics: marketing, events, open house, customer events

The Gimbel & Associates Going Forward Guide: Marketing and Data

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Mar 2, 2018 9:00:00 AM

A typical print production organization encompasses several internal entities that are often distinct and isolated from one another. Among others, your company’s departments may include groups dedicated to marketing, creative, production, and data. In the past, disassociation among these groups was manageable. Some departments even found it acceptable to maintain mild adversarial relationships; they just didn’t see things the same way, but arms-length interactions didn’t influence the ability to do business.
 
Things have changed. Today’s most successful enterprises are reaping the benefits of bringing their internal groups together. They are creating a competitive advantage by speeding time to market and delivering high quality products in an environment where print service providers are forging deeper relationships with their clients. In this article we will concentrate on the ties between marketing and data.
 
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Topics: marketing, cross-functonal

The Printer’s Role in Non-Profit Campaign Effectiveness

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Jan 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Key to Success is in the Data

Helping non-profits reach their objectives for fundraising and retention requires print service providers to use a new approach; different from how they’ve interacted with customers for decades. Print vendors must dedicate more time to probing, analyzing, and testing than they might apply to traditional direct mail campaigns. A file of names and addresses imaged on pre-printed shells will not yield the desired results. The key to non-profit success is in the data.

 A non-profit organization’s data could be outdated or in disarray. Print service providers may have to help their non-profit clients assess, augment, and use the data necessary to make their fundraising campaigns successful. It is important to do this work before attempting to design compelling variable data campaigns.

Start with an analysis of the data that exists within the non-profit’s donor databases:

  • What information have they captured?
  • Did they record the information in a consistent manner?
  • Is information missing from some records?
  • Are there known duplicates?
  • Is the data centralized or is it spread across several departments or locations?
  • How old is the data?
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Topics: marketing, multi-channel campaigns, marketing strategy, data analytics, non-profit

How to Create a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet     Part 2

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Dec 7, 2016 3:26:31 PM

Marketing and Sales Must Work Together

Creating a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet includes several steps. Success relies upon an honest evaluation of the print service provider and a detailed analysis of customers, competitors, and market trends. If inkjet is new to everyone in the organization, or an introspective examination of the current condition is difficult, then ask for opinions from outside observers and experts to help build the business plan.

In Part 1 of this post we described assessment, review, and goal-setting activities necessary to establish a baseline and the desired objectives for developing new business for an inkjet platform. Part 2 focuses on the marketing and sales strategies print service providers must consider to achieve the desired outcomes.

Marketing Strategy

Print service providers achieving the greatest return on their inkjet platform investments have approached marketing differently from their strategies for traditional offset or toner-based printing. Their focus is on using inkjet to help customers meet their marketing or customer communications objectives, rather than on the printed output itself. Creating awareness, interest, and demand for inkjet-enabled benefits is the job of the print provider’s marketing strategy.

Inkjet-specific marketing materials can point out how a service provider’s inkjet operation can:

  • Improve response rates for customer marketing materials by making documents more personalized

  • Use data to create relevant documents and images designed to improve customer experiences

  • Embed promotional, informational, or educational content in transactional documents

  • Reduce customer service calls by creating easily understood documents

  • Drive targeted messaging in other channels and integrate printed materials into multi-channel campaigns

  • Get documents produced sooner due to shortened proofing and preparation times

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Topics: marketing, sales, marketing strategy, sales process, marketing plan

How to Create a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet           Part 1

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Nov 21, 2016 3:16:34 PM

4 Main Steps to Success

Creating a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet includes several steps. Success relies upon an honest evaluation of the print service provider and a detailed analysis of customers, competitors, and market trends. If inkjet is new to everyone in the organization, or an introspective examination of the current condition is difficult, then ask for opinions from outside observers and experts to help build the business plan.

S.W.O.T.

The first step in creating an inkjet business marketing plan is assessing the current         state of the operation. We always start with an objective analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Then we identify new opportunities inkjet provides and get a handle on risks and threats to the company’s success as a provider of inkjet printing services.

Common strengths we measure include sales skills, vertical market expertise, and existing contracts. Identified weaknesses might be skilled labor shortages, buyer perceptions compared to competitors, or high overhead costs.

Inkjet presents so many opportunities print service providers may need to decide which areas they want to exploit first and which can wait until they have more experience. Examples include expansion into new vertical markets, soliciting larger or smaller clients than previously served, and developing new applications that leverage the speed, price, and flexibility of inkjet. Because inkjet is more about data than other printing technologies, offering digital services beyond print but using the same data sources may be ways to deepen customer relationships.

Threats are highly specific to individual organizations, geographies, and markets. They might include competitors also entering the inkjet world, contract terms, overall economic conditions, or mergers and acquisitions involving key accounts.

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Topics: marketing

Why You Need a Business Marketing Plan Before You Buy an Inkjet Press

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Nov 4, 2016 12:58:18 PM

Plan a Strategy for Migration, Integration and
New Business Bevelopment 

Early adopters of inkjet printing were often challenged to find enough pages to fill their newly acquired capacity. Lower production cost was an attractive aspect of inkjet, but those savings only materialized when there was enough volume to cover the overhead. Companies had to convert existing applications to the inkjet platform and convince customers inkjet was a reasonable alternative.

These inkjet pioneers weren’t bad business people, they just suffered through the issues that come with any breakthrough product or technique. A “Field of Dreams” situation forced printing companies to invest first and then unearth the work. Printers migrated inkjet jobs from traditional presses; either their own or from competitors. This was normal for many printing companies.

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Topics: marketing

Consultative Selling - Teaching Your Sales Team a New Approach

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on May 18, 2016 12:13:01 PM

How To Turn Your Staff Into Consultative Sellers

In a previous post I pointed out the need to transition to consultative selling from traditional approaches used by most print service providers. This isn’t an easy task. Retraining a sales team to use a different set of skills is a hard thing to do. It doesn’t involve just the salespeople; it is an enterprise-wide effort. Top management must support consultative selling as part of their company culture to change the mindset from focusing on print jobs to enabling customers’ business goals. It’s about why they print, not what.

One of the most important concepts to ingrain in your salespeople is that relationships come first and selling comes second. Building relationships with customers includes developing trust and credibility. To earn that trust salespeople must take a true interest in understanding client needs, demonstrating empathy, and always maintaining integrity.

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Topics: sales, consultative selling, marketing, how to

Consultative Selling – Business Development Breeds Better Sales

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Apr 18, 2016 11:57:05 AM


Why You Should Care About Consultative Selling

Over the last several years journalists and experts have advised printing companies they must change to be competitive in a multi-channel communications world. Many print providers have responded by updating hardware, software, and technology. We think the key to successfully generating revenue from those investments, and the way to expand your business, is by adopting a consultative approach to working with your customers. We’ve already helped many clients make that transition.

Consultative selling is different from the method used for decades in the print business, best described as “commodity” or “transactional” selling. In a typical print services sales presentation, the salesperson spends most of their time describing what their company has to offer. The conversation is dominated with details such as printing specifications, papers, finishing capabilities, mail preparation, and volume price breaks.

Today - “Here is what we have – want to buy it?”

In a print focused, commodity-type relationship, the print services discussed are generally available from many providers and the buyer has many vendors to choose from. The most important distinguishing factor is price. Customer loyalty is tenuous at best. If youbrochures.jpg are selling print in a price based relationship, the value of continuing to do business with your company can be easily diminished or eliminated by lower prices touted by the competition.

Transactional customer relationships are a bit stronger than commodity selling in that a print service provider may have developed a niche or specialization within a certain market or service. Their record of performance and limited competition allows them to charge more, but leaves little room for expanding customer relationships beyond that particular area of expertise. Customers may keep coming back because there are no viable options. Once they find an alternative though, accounts become vulnerable.

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Topics: sales, consultative selling, marketing