If there is one word we would use to define interviewing some of the brightest #GirlsWhoPrint, that would be “awesome!” That is how we felt when we previously spoke to Sandy Hubbard and Pat McGrew about the changes we will see in the print industry and how print service providers can pivot, scale, and upgrade themselves to cater to evolving consumer demands.
In our fourth interview from the series, Team Design’N’Buy had the fantastic opportunity to (virtually) meet with the “Intergalactic Ambassador” to “The Printerverse,” Deborah Corn, and talk about the techniques printers can implement to gain a competitive edge in the market.
Team Design’N’Buy: Deborah, we are incredibly pleased to have you for this interview. Please tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Deborah Corn: Hi! Thanks for having me. I am the founder of Print Media Centr, a website/printing community that offers printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals across the globe.
I have 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer. These days I am busy working behind the scenes with printers, suppliers, industry organizations, and events to help them create meaningful relationships with their customers and achieve success with their social media, content marketing, event marketing, and sales campaigns.
I am also the founder of Project Peacock and International Print Day. You can follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.
DNB: That is awesome! Thank you for your introduction. OK, so what do you think are the upcoming trends in the print industry that printers should keep an eye on to formulate their strategy?
Deborah Corn: If a printer uses customer or consumer data in any manner, whether they collect it themselves or have it sourced by clients, there is a crackdown coming, and it is going to impact printers and mailers significantly.
Europe and Canada have been through this; the US is now following suit. Being aware of all of the laws and strategizing now to implement an opt-in or opt-out process in your marketing efforts with your customers will become very crucial.
DNB: How can a printer grow from being just a local business to a national or even a global enterprise?
Deborah Corn: I believe focusing on local businesses is the only productive use of time for print sales for the time being. National and global brands have their suppliers covered. Local businesses need help staying open and generating income.
There is an opportunity to create a long-standing customer behind every door of local shops — if you can develop a menu of products and services they can choose from, including creating the files and providing a simple way for them to order either through you or your website.
DNB: Do print shop owners need to invest in technology such as eCommerce storefronts, automation, and web-to-print, especially after a pandemic? If yes, why?
Deborah Corn: The time to invest in all of this was before the pandemic. If printers are coming to this conclusion now, they had better hurry up and catch up before becoming obsolete. The one thing I would add is that just having an eCommerce storefront is not enough.
An investment needs to be made in optimizing websites and pumping some money into SEO so you can be found on the search engines when people search to fulfill their printing needs.
DNB: What strategy can printers apply to recover lost sales and boost sales along with profit in the future?
Deborah Corn: Sending consistent communication that educates customers on your products and services is essential. Do not assume they know or remember all you can do. If they order something, ask them about other things that could also be needed.
For example, if they are ordering invitations, perhaps, they also need a congratulations banner, or some family reunion t-shirts or baseball hats, or photo books for keepsakes.
As long as you keep your suggestions related to their order, it would not seem like an upsell. In fact, it will seem like you are helping them create an amazing experience for their guests.
DNB: How can print owners improve their customer service?
Deborah Corn: Assuming they need to improve, my experience is that printers should understand that their relationships with customers are critical to keeping them around. I would simply suggest that printers should listen to them.
And I mean, listen, not listen for your spot to try and sell something. Listen and provide strategic guidance on how to achieve success through print and print marketing.
Listen and help a business print less to reach a more targeted audience to achieve their business goals. Listen, and make sure each customer knows you are there for them and not for a commission check.
DNB: We agree! Genuinely listening to customers and acting upon their requests can make all the difference. Thank you so much for your time, Deborah.
Deborah Corn: Thanks for having me!
Please note this interview is a part of a series. To catch more interviews with print industry influencers, please keep an eye out on our blog. Alternatively, if you are interested in our web-to-print solutions, please visit the contact form, and a staff member will contact you at the earliest convenience.