As a marketer, whether you are on the design side of the spectrum or on the conceptualisation part of the team, there are times when it becomes unavoidable for you to be drawn into a print-based campaign or, at very least, you work on a campaign which has a print element.
How do you decide which printer is best going to be able to meet your production demands? For many companies they have a printer of choice. One printer they turn to for everything. A printer which has always – and will always – handle all of their printing requirements. Hopefully! The printing industry is under pressure and many companies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their doors open.
Here is a question for those agencies and marketers who continually use the same printer for everything. Does your printer handle everything or does he produce everything? There is a difference. While your printer may ‘handle’ everything, it is very unlikely that he can produce everything. Consider all your printed requirements. Billboards, flyers, business cards, brochures, maybe even packaging elements. There are a plethora of items which you can have printed. While ‘your’ printer may be able to have some of these items printed he is certainly not handling everything himself. If you expand the gamut of print to include such things as embroidery, promotional items with a printed element or a poster, how much of this can your printer actually produce?
It is all very well that your printer outsources some of these elements, but you must also bear in mind that for every element which he outsources, there is a respective loss of control, another player in the process, which extends the value chain and also adds to the blame chain if something goes wrong. With each added player in the process the cost goes up, whether you realise it or not. So, what you have to do is balance the convenience of working with a single printer to finding the right printers for your different and varied requirements.
You can obviously do your own investigations, search websites, search the yellow pages, make numerous phone calls, trust that what you are being told is factual and then go through the process of putting the various suppliers to the test.
There is another and easier alternative. A simple and easy to use directory, both in printed and interactive online formats allows companies searching for printers to find suitable and qualified printers to handle their specific needs. Qualified refers to the fact that printers, or more correctly speaking, suppliers list only the services that they can perform in-house. The SA Print Directory is the only directory of its kind in South Africa.
The directory is designed and sorted according to jobs rather than the more technical printing terms which printers may be inclined to use. Therefore, if you are looking for business cards for example, only a list of printers who are prepared to directly print your business cards will be listed. It is made as simple as possible for people who do not understand all the technical terms.
Products are organised into over 160 categories allowing users of the directory or website to find exactly what they are looking for. However, the functionality of the directory does not end there. From within the website, you can search for your chosen products and then view information on specific printers or service providers. In addition, you can select to make contact with specific service providers by e-mail directly from the website. Alternatively, you can select to contact all the service providers within a specific category and receive multiple contacts from a single e-mail.
For you as the client, what this means is that with one e-mail – per product – you can expect to receive multiple contacts dedicated to the products you require. While the directory cannot offer the convenience of using one printer or supplier for all your printing requirements, what it does do is to ensure that you only deal with qualified suppliers. You can also decide whether or not you want to deal with a specific printer.
Coming back to the beginning of the article, as a marketer the most important element to you on any campaign is measurability. So, why should you use a directory when you have no idea of its efficacy? In order to put your mind at ease, here are a few statistics regarding the SA Print Directory.
The directory is now entering its third year and has seen year-on-year growth with each release of the directory. The growth has been both in terms of the number of printers and service providers listed, as well as in the number of categories. Not only that, but the number of views on the specific listings has also grown. At the end of its first year a little over 400 000 views were received on the website. At the end of its second year that number has risen to more than 2 million views with requests for quotes running into the thousands.
The next step is the development of a new website for the directory offering more interactivity, greater security and increased functionality. This means that your experience of looking for the right service providers will be simpler and easier.
The SA Print Directory has been built on the experience of the team at Sentient Publishing following a close association with the printing industry for over 15 years and personal relationships in the industry of the team amounting to almost 100 years. The SA Print Directory is the leading directory of local printers. Have a look for yourself, visit www.saprintdirectory.co.za