How to tell if Your Printer is a Cultural Fit for Your Catalog Program

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It’s been a while since we’ve addressed the topic of finding a new printer.  As we move forward towards the holiday season it seems a good time to revive the topic.  Culture plays more of a roll in your choice of printer than you may realize. Often times we look for these cultural similarities subconsciously.  Here are just a few key areas to pay attention to that could make all the difference in the world to your catalog when selecting a printer that’s right for you.

 

Look for Individualism versus Corporatism: When selecting a printer, it is important that you find someone who will listen to what you want and be a voice for your needs.  You don’t want to be just another fish in the pond.  You want to feel like your printer truly cares about your success, that you are their livelihood.  Basically, you want to feel valued.

 

One of the best ways to determine your printer’s attitude is to evaluate their Customer Service department.   Don’t be afraid to ask the question, “who will you be working with?” Will you speak to the same rep every time, or countless reps? How involved is your rep in the overall process? Will they act as your advocate and oversee your operation to the best of their ability? Or are they just answering phones and playing the pacify game?  Remember your printer is there to work with you.  You should never feel like you are being put off no matter how big or small your program is.

 

Look for a Printer with a Similar Voice: Inquire, what is the voice, or the essence, of this printer? How is this company managed? Is it similar to yours? Do they work with companies that are the same size or in a comparable industry to yours? Ask your Sales Executive for a variety of catalog samples so that you can see the quality of work being done for these companies. Are the other catalogers in the same industry or different industry?  Is the style of the books similar to yours?  Not just culturally, but materially.  Style, layout, page count, paper weight.

 

How well does this printer know your brand already?  Are they sending you applicable samples, or are they sending you a spread of generic looking samples to show off by?

 

Don’t be afraid to ask these questions about your printer.  They are there for your company and you should never be made to feel like they are doing you a favor.  Sad as this may be, we hear these stories from prospects all the time.  Remember, you should be interviewing them to print your catalog and not the other way around.

 

Talk interests with your sales rep and get to know people from the company. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that you know their vision and voice are similar to your own.

 

Look for a Printer with Aligned Values & Integrity: Begin by asking yourself about the core values of your company? What is your purpose? Then look for a printer that is able to uphold those values.

 

For example, let’s say your values consist of the following: integrity; customer service; quality; good workmanship. Does your printer have any of these same values?  Because if they don’t, you will never be happy with the work they produce.  What is important to you?  Experience, skill, creativity?  What are your expectations?  These are things you should know before selecting the right printer for you.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask about the company’s internal processes. You’ll learn a lot about them this way. What are their training programs? What are their Quality Assurance operations? Do they have written values for their employees and guidelines they are required to follow? Make sure that the printer you select will have equivalent standards to your own.

 

Henry Ford said:  “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a progress; working together is success.” In order to guarantee the success of your catalog, you must find a printer that shares your visions, that has a common history, a respect for your product, who cares about your success and is willing to work with you to ensure that you have it. When working with a company, understanding their culture is imperative. Culture is what makes us who we are. You want to pick out a printer as carefully as you would an employee for your own company. After all, they are a vivacious part of your vision; they are the finishing touch, the last step to getting your brand in the right hands.

 

Happy 10/10 everyone and remember to subscribe to our blog if you like what you see!

 

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.