Picking Your Print Vendor: 10 Reasons Smaller Is Better What do you look for in a corporate print vendor?
It may be wise to avoid huge providers, like RR Donley, Iron Mountain and Consolidated Graphics. The biggest, flashiest-looking options aren't necessarily the best, and working with them could actually be detrimental to your business.
Unfortunately, it's all too easy to confuse size with actual quality. Choose poorly, and you'll be stuck with a vendor that promises the moon yet ends up lowering your marketing ROI. Size alone should never be the determining factor, but excessive size is a good clue that you should look elsewhere. Here are ten simple reasons to pick a smaller premier print vendor instead of some massive chain or national enterprise.
1. Customer Service Isn't Just a Buzzword
Many big providers claim to pride themselves on the quality of their customer service. According to management studies conducted around the turn of the century, however, customer service quality drops when businesses grow too big. Companies are generally better at hitting the customer service sweet spot when they use hybrid techniques drawn from large and small businesses alike. In the printing industry, you're more likely to encounter such characteristics in a smaller vendor. Unfortunately, their larger competitors lose sight of critical customer service factors along the way.
2. Clients Are the Main Priority
As a business owner, you've got plenty of people to answer to. Your print vendor is probably in a similar situation, and with larger providers, you may not always be their primary concern.
What bigger vendors supposedly gain in resources, they often lose in focus. Their business policies are more heavily affected by board members and shareholders, so they can't always fulfill your needs attentively. Even if their customer service doesn't suffer, the quality of their service offerings usually does.
3. People Are Held Accountable
Your next print marketing campaign may pass through dozens of pairs of hands and distribution centers before it reaches its final destination. This is often unavoidable. What's unacceptable is when this process sprawls out of control until it's impossible to track who's responsible for what Smaller print vendors maintain higher accountability. They help you use technology intelligently to determine where the blame or praise lies for each campaign action. In the end, you can make smarter choices about refining your overall process.
4. Your Printer Advocates on Your Behalf
Genuine advocacy is something you rarely observe with huge vendors. Even the most diligent big names simply lack the time to treat each job like it was their own, so your concerns may get lost in the shuffle. Working with a smaller company ensures that your interests are represented more accurately. For instance, if an ink or paper stock supplier wants to skimp on material quality, a smaller printer is more likely to put their foot down so that the results meet your standards.
5. The Collateral Quality Is Higher
Better advocacy isn't the only reason smaller vendors offer better results. Their processes are more tightly controlled, so they avoid mistakes and ensure quality Company size is a well-known factor in the cost and efficacy of quality management systems. Although there are definitely solutions for any enterprise size, print vendors that aren't quite as large often enjoy significant advantages. When it comes to inspecting collateral, performing pre-production cleanup work and formatting marketing assets, they're more likely to stay on their toes.
6. Processes Are More Transparent
No print provider should be a black box, but even those with relatively open methodologies can appear cloudy if they're too big. The more process data you have to sift through, the harder it is to understand what's actually going on. Exclusive print vendors reveal more. The data they provide is vital to minimizing costs and cutting down on process waste so that your campaigns reach wider audiences. Modern printers that start off small and focus on transparency from the beginning are also more likely to stay transparent over time.
7. Communication Is Open
When you ask your print provider a question, how many layers of bureaucracy do you have to go through to get an answer? If you're working with one of the so-called big guys, it's probably far too many. A small vendor can offer you more direct lines of communication. Once you've discovered an issue, you're more likely to talk to someone who can actually fix it before it poses a major problem for your campaign.
8. Pricing Is Fairer
National commercial printers are notorious for gouging business customers on pricing. From charging for every request to increasing material markups to astronomical levels, they're well-known for trying to wring every drop of cash out of their clients. There's nothing wrong with trying to turn a profit, but it should be within the bounds of reason. Smaller print vendors respect this principle because their reputations are on the line with each client. They rely more heavily on repeat business and less on outrageous profits from prior fiscal years, so they consider it in their best interest to provide more equitable pricing.
9. You Build Better Working Relationships
Partnering with a smaller vendor makes it easier to foster healthy working relationships. In other words, you can rely on your account being handled by a person you know instead of whoever happens to be manning the call center on a given day. This goes a long way towards increasing the success rate of future campaigns.
10. The Solutions Actually Meet Your Needs
For many business consumers, bespoke printing solutions are the main reason to go with smaller vendors. Instead of having to settle for a generic product, you get comprehensive printing and marketing systems that are specifically tailored to your workflows. As your campaign needs change, your printing methodology adapts in kind.
Print marketing isn't a once-off affair. It demands sustainability and a premier print vendor that can create, manage and deliver impactful solutions. Visit Corporate Graphics online to learn why we're your best chance at superior print marketing ROI.