Could you get extra zing if you use a print consultant?

There are certain dishes that I have eaten at restaurants that will remain fixed within my memory. One is a bowl of baked potato soup. Another is a tasting dish of lamb. And once I had the most exquisite plate of peanut brittle.

But why do these particular dishes stay within my mind? These are the dishes that I have never been able to re-create at home. As a keen amateur cook, I can turn out some decent plates of food. But there are some cooking skills that I just don’t have. To make food really zing, you need the skills of a professional chef.

A print consultant can make your printed communications zing!

A print consultant is an expert from the print industry who can help you with specific print projects. Amongst other projects print consultants can help with any of the following:

– Resolving issues with print suppliers
– Running print tenders
– Benchmarking print prices
– Reviewing your strategy of using print
– Helping set up specific print projects where you may not have the right resource in-house

A print consultant can help you achieve better results from your project. You may not achieve the same results if you tried to carry out the project on your own. These results can include:
– Introductions to more appropriate suppliers for the project
– Suggesting more economical solutions for the project
– Suggesting more effective solutions for the project
– Making sure that the right systems are in place on the project to ensure that everything works effectively

Your project will be more successful if you use a print consultant

Using a print consultant can help you achieve your business goals. Your goals may be in marketing, sales or some other form of client communication. Whatever your goals are, a consultant will make sure that you achieve what your business needs to achieve. In addition a consultant will help you forge effective relationships with the right suppliers. And good relationships with the right suppliers will mean that you can control your print the way you want to.

Of course you could try and control print projects on your own

However the chances are that your print projects won’t achieve the results you need. Your printed items won’t be as effective; they may be more expensive; or they may just be the wrong application of print for your business. Your print relationships may be weak, or simply be with the wrong suppliers. In short, you won’t be able to control your print output as effectively as you could with a consultant.

Aren’t consultants expensive?

The cost of having a top flight expert within your business on a permanent basis can be very high. And it is hard to justify this cost on a full time basis. However, the cost of a consultant is tiny compared to trying to invest in the full time resource. A consultant is able to contribute to a project for just a few days.

A consultant is a resource that should show a good return on investment. The benefits that you will gain may include a better response rate on sales and marketing items. Or you may benefit from lower costs and less time spent on projects. These benefits will stay with you long after a consultant has finished a project.

So how does a print consultant work in practice?

A recent print project that I worked on was with a large advertising agency. They were concerned that they didn’t have any proper print systems in place. They did not manage the print that they were producing for their clients effectively. There was little specialist print knowledge within the agency. Print systems at the agency had grown by chance rather than through planning.

The project started by auditing the agency’s suppliers. This ensured that the agency had suitable suppliers who understood exactly what was required of them. The suppliers were given service level agreements.

The suppliers were also given price matrices that we developed for the most common items that were being purchased. The matrices were also given to the account handlers at the agency, who purchase print. The account handlers were also given new processes. The processes enabled them to approach the right agency print supplier for each job.

The results for the agency were impressive

The agency saw a large reduction of print problems. They were also able to acquire their print much more profitably. And finally, print sales went up as the account handlers became more confident in promoting print to clients.

I am now working with the agency to develop new ways to use print to communicate more effectively with clients. These products will allow the agency to increase their studio billing time as a ratio of the job cost.

Where do you go from here to get the same results as the agency?

There are three things that you can do to engage with a print consultant and get improved print results:
– Check that you actually have projects that will benefit from a consultant
– Talk to potential consultants on the phone. Make sure that you are happy with the way that they approach projects. Make sure that they really do have the experience that you require (there are an awful lot of “consultants” around who are simply print brokers).
– Read my article on how to get the best from a print consultant here

Make sure your print gets that extra zing!

Don’t rely on home-cooked skills. You know you need a professional for really great results.

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