Quick and small commercial printers have a wide and varied base of customers. Some of that variation depends on the demographics of their location. Some is a result of a particular targeted sales effort. Some is just happenstance. I had the pleasure of giving the keynote address at the ICED conference in Cypress, TX, in early June and talked with printers who enjoyed substantial business from customers ranging from sports teams to law offices to car dealerships.
Some of the more obvious vertical markets for small commercial printers include healthcare (medical practices, dental, hospital), hospitality (restaurants, hotels/motels/ travel agencies, resorts), education (colleges, alumni groups), financial (accountants, finance companies, banks/credit unions), government (local, state), commercial (retail, real estate, automotive), manufacturing, insurance agents, etc. This is far from a complete list but gives an idea of how broad the pool of potential customers can be.
Margie Dana, founder of Print Buyers International, says her perspective from working with print buyers is that some likely customer candidates for quick and small commercial printers could include privately owned small businesses, local and small retailers, nonprofits, churches, schools, medical and dental practices, self publishers, health clubs, etc. The fact is that any organization or individual with a need to communicate with customers can be a candidate to buy your printing.
More and more printers are targeting specific vertical markets and as Joe Rickard pointed out in his June QP article Four Steps to Get Vertical in Printing Sales, the best place for printers to look for such vertical marketing opportunities is in their own account base. He also presented a webinar on the subject of developing vertical markets in late June, which you can find in the Media Center at MyPrintResource.com.
According to Scott Eganhouse of TEC Mailing Solutions in Madison, WI, “Good customers usually come from other good customers in the form of a qualified referral – they already have a positive association with your organization through a trusted source. It matters less which vertical you choose to place your focus on than how you position your company to serve their unique challenges. It can be tough in an industry that is often viewed as a commodity, but those organizations that can meaningfully differentiate themselves through value-add will be the winners. Positioning your company to serve a vertical assumes you’ve created an offering specific to their needs, demonstrating knowledge of pain points you hope to overcome. Eliminating pain and removing barriers leads to more client referrals. This is especially true within a vertical because they can associate with colleagues in a deeper, more meaningful way.”
“Referrals are the best because you know from where they are coming,” says Wayne G. Reese of PIP Printing and Marketing in Cleveland. “Also, people you may meet at networking. The face-to-face is so important and it gives the opportunity to somewhat know the person before you start talking about their job and your capabilities.”
“I like public companies as clients,” says Scott Cappel of Sorrento Mesa Printing in San Diego. “They have a treasury and scrutinized financial reporting, which dramatically increases your odds of getting paid.”
“The best customers come from all communities,” says Frank Starks of Precision Printers in the Washington, DC area.” They are people who, in addition to clearly communicating their specifications, include their areas of concern and potential impediments in completing the job.”