“Web-to-print is an excellent way to ensure that job specifications are captured efficiently and accurately” Pat McGrew, Industry Leader, Advises Printing Companies

Pat McGrew interview

There is no doubt that the print industry is undergoing a massive change, which the pandemic has further accelerated. Therefore, there is no better time for printing companies to pivot, upgrade or scale than now.

In our third interview from the series, Team Design’N’Buy caught up with print communication technology evangelist and Managing Director of McGrewGroup, Pat McGrew, to understand what changes our industry will witness in the future and how printers can better prepare themselves for change.

Design’N’Buy: First of all, thank you for joining us for this interview, Pat. Could you please tell our readers about yourself ?

Pat McGrew: Thanks for having me, team! I appreciate it. If I were to share what I do for a living in one sentence, I would say, “I help companies perform better!” As the Managing Director of McGrewGroup, Inc., I consult businesses on the best practices to follow to grow.

Using my experience as a software company owner, marketer, analyst, industry evangelist, and consultant, I assess companies’ workflow and biz flow effectiveness and develop strategies and triage engagements that help them sell better.

My specialty lies in print and customer communication channels for transaction billing and invoicing, data-driven and static marketing, packaging, label, and commercial print techniques. In addition, I have extensive knowledge of offset, inkjet, and toner.

I am also a professional speaker and facilitator and have authored eight business books. I am also the editor of A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge and a regular industry content contributor on Inkjet Insight and WhatTheyThink, as well as Document Strategy magazine and many others.

I also host Print Sample TV on the Inkish.TV platform and run a podcast, #The Print Report, with Deborah Corn.

In 2014, I was awarded the coveted Girlie Award, #GirlsWhoPrint, and in 2016 I was awarded the Xplor Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award.

I am certified as a Lifetime Master Electronic Document Professional by Xplor International, as a Print Buyer for Variable Print by PCPI, as a Color Management Professional (CMP), CMP Digital, and BrandQ Professional by IDEAlliance. This sums me up!

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DNB: That is incredible! We are delighted to pick your brains for our audience. OK, so what are the up-and-coming trends you see in the print industry? For what should the printers be ready?

Pat McGrew: The printing industry will have segments with both decline and growth. Printers need to look at who they serve and their buying patterns. If they have changed, it is vital to start pivoting to new areas. Embellishment is a growing area of opportunity for printers!

But, before you pivot, look at how you bring jobs onboard and create a workflow in your production environment. Printers lose the most margin during the onboarding process. 

Web-to-print is an excellent way to ensure that job specifications are captured efficiently and accurately. Capturing the specifications accurately reduces time to production and avoids waste.

DNB: What are the print technology printers should invest in, especially after the global pandemic? What ROI can they expect?


Pat McGrew: No two printing companies are the same, so making broad generalizations are difficult. Investing in suitable digital devices with quick setup and the ability to track work via dashboards allows for optimum scheduling options. ROIs vary by the investment required and anticipated volumes.

You May Also Like Episode 1: Matthew Parker To Printers: “Communicate From The Customer’s View Point”

DNB: What are your views on selling prints online? Which factors should printers keep in mind while doing that?

Pat McGrew: Selling print online requires excellent job information capture and discipline in production and delivery. It also requires careful attention to cross-border regulations and taxation if you provide international delivery.

Begin by getting the job capture and production solution in place and then work with your legal team to ensure that you are meeting all global requirements if you sell out of your home area.

Just setting up a website and expecting people to come is not the ultimate path to success. Remember to budget for marketing. Think creatively. Who do you want to sell to? Where do they congregate? How do they make decisions? Printers need to answer those questions to determine how to market their offering.

DNB: How can printers improve their customer service with the help of eCommerce and web-to-print?

selling online

Pat McGrew: Begin by understanding that the success of your customer service depends on your well-trained team members who are empowered to help customers. Easy payment options via eCommerce platforms is undoubtedly a good strategy.

But think about what can go wrong and set plans for dealing with those types of issues, so you are not surprised. Do not expect the eCommerce and web-to-print systems to be magic. They require a setup that coordinates with the products you want to sell and how you want to sell them.

DNB: What can become a winning strategy for printers to overcome changing customer behaviors?

Pat McGrew: Flexibility is the key to growth. The market will continue to change, and its directions are hard to predict. So as you monitor your cost of goods sold, reserve a regular percentage of profit to save for new investments and upgrades.

DNB: That is excellent advice indeed. Thank you so much for sharing your words of wisdom. We are sure our audience will benefit much from your tips. Thank you once again, Pat!

Pat McGrew: Thanks for having me, team!

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.

Read Interview With : Matthew Parker |  Sandy Hubbard | Pat Mcgrew | Deborah Corn | Joanne Gore

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