Why Knowing the Customer Is so Important in Print Fulfillment

Why Knowing the Customer Is so Important in Print Fulfillment

Worried about making deadlines on an upcoming printing project? Struggling with the need to stay within budget and still ensure custom marketing collateral gets delivered? You may not be alone. 

Many companies face major challenges when it comes to print ordering, management and fulfillment. Good planning can only help mitigate some of these hurdles. Without also changing the systems they use to complete projects, modern companies may never realize the high-efficiency printing practices they strive for.

Corporate print services can't just be glorified printing presses. Instead, they need to know their customers and adapt to their needs in real time. Here are some of the reasons why so many business consumers are rethinking the way they create, manage and deliver print jobs.​

The Current State of the Corporate Printing Industry

Printing technology has proliferated over the past few decades. Unfortunately, many of the companies that rely on it are also shackled to solutions that seem to be stuck in the past. While increasing numbers of vendors offer web-based ordering interfaces and marketing asset management tools that live in the cloud, they try to constrain users to very specific molds.

The Problem With Printing

The majority of turnkey solutions are designed as out-of-the-box apps. Even though this can shorten initial deployment cycles, users ultimately sacrifice significant amounts of time to continual tweaking and adjustment. Such burdens add up from job to job. As such, printing processes that ought to be routine gradually become impossible to control and customize. One of the biggest disadvantages of turnkey vendors is that they constrain their customers' marketing activities. Consider a company that only offers a limited range of print production services. Its clients have no other choice but to go elsewhere when they want to break into new marketing channels. They also have to ensure that their marketing assets, formatting specifications and branding guidelines survive the trip unscathed. These kinds of print marketing vendors are overwhelmingly common, but they make it extremely difficult to:

  • Oversee processes,
  • Perform accurate cost-benefit analyses,
  • Minimize lead times,
  • Create customized, campaign-specific marketing collateral, and
  • Respond to new order requests rapidly.

Why Is Printing Efficiency Such a Huge Deal?

Don't be fooled by the common misconception that society has reached some kind of completely digital utopia. As recently as 2014,  that almost four-fifths of households took the time to read direct-mail advertisements. At the same time, just under 40 percent of new customers reported trying businesses after receiving direct-mail ad content.Even those who focus on digital marketing have a hard time denying the importance of print media.  that sending consumers direct mail and physical catalogs increases online revenue by 65 percent and 163 percent respectively. In May 2016,  in terms of effective marketing channel reach. Print marketing is a critical form of outreach, and this isn't likely to change in the near future. Those who don't correct their print process inefficiencies are ultimately doomed to depressed marketing ROI.

Breaking Free of the Old Cycle

How do modern enterprises improve the way they operate? For many, the answer lies in finding new printing solutions. Although the world of corporate printing providers may seem largely uniform, there are a few inspired options that really stand out. These companies offer nimble systems that they customize to meet the demands of their clients. As a result, each solution is infinitely better suited to the marketing strategy in question than some generic alternative would be. Upgrading to a modernized vendor that uses technology intelligently to help you oversee your printing processes may be the key to cultivating a more sustainable marketing ecosystem. 

Choosing a Corporate Printing Solution

While there are many important factors to look for in a print vendor, the most effective providers are process and goal oriented. They facilitate superior management decisions, foster quantifiable ROI improvements and get print products to market faster. They also excel in three essential domains:

Creating Solutions

The best print vendors actually get to know their customers before trying to solve their problems. They learn what custom KPIs these corporate clients use to gauge their successes and tailor their print marketing programs to fulfill goals in these areas. Effective printing services also take the time to build comprehensive feedback mechanisms. This is critical to guaranteeing ease of use, improving long-term performance and determining whether subsequent enhancements are necessary.

Managing Implementations

Your print vendor's job isn't complete simply because they've offered a possible solution. While you're busy ordering new projects and creating marketing collateral, they need to provide reliable back-end services, such as maintaining web portals, routing reporting and billing data and managing fulfillment.

Delivering Robust Systems

Finally, good print vendors deliver more than just solutions for specific projects. They also provide their users with complete, customizable workflows that let them tackle new campaigns and realize more using fewer resources. The best systems offer:

  • Marketing automation for time-consuming processes,
  • Digital portals that cater to the ordering and oversight needs of specific stakeholders,
  • Consolidated asset-management tools that make it easy to publish and promote uniformly,
  • High-quality print materials that can easily be tailored to specific campaigns and market segments,
  • Lead times and product costs that significantly improve on what prior vendors could offer, and
  • Flexible systems that can be updated, expanded and reworked to overcome future challenges.

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Printing Service?

Printed communication serves many different roles, but corporate demand can't be fulfilled by mere machines. To truly serve the needs of clients, printing providers must both be responsive and actually know their customers. Gain control over your print marketing. 
Learn about the Corporate Graphics Create, Manage and Deliver philosophy today.