Three reasons why print buyers should use a multi-channel printer

I love cooking.

I really enjoy spending time creating a mouth-watering dish.  But doing the shopping for this can be very time-consuming.  I have to go from shop to shop to make sure that I have all the right ingredients.

But the quick way to get all my ingredients is to go to a supermarket.  Then I can do a one stop shop.

And a one stop shop is exactly what marketing teams and print buyers should consider.  These days they should be look closely at using a multi-channel printer.

What is a multi-channel printer?

Multi-channel signpost

There are many routes to communicate with your audience - a multi-channel print can efficiently manage them all for you

A multi-channel printer is a printer who understands that there is more to communication than print.  They know that most companies need to communicate to their customers through different channels.  These channels might include:

  • Print
  • E-mail
  • Website
  • SMS
  • Video
  • Apps

The multi-channel printer will offer a number of these communication options to their customers.  They are far more than just a print manufacturer.

Buyers who use multi-channel printers create stronger supply partnerships

This is because they have less different relationships to focus on.  These buyers also achieve more because they can work efficiently with a single supplier.  They are in control of their supply chain

Buyers who do not use multi-channel printers do not have the same control.  They are dashing from supplier to supplier trying to manage everyone.  And trying to make sure that everything works together.  So they find it difficult to achieve what they need to in their working week.  And their partnerships are weaker, because they can’t focus on a single supplier.

Here are three more reasons why you should consider using a multi-channel supplier.

Using a multi-channel printer means that you manage your content less

Often a company has to send their content to several suppliers.  These may include the printer, the e-mail campaign manager and the app developer.  But each of these suppliers will need the content in a slightly different format.

So there is a lot of work for a company in re-formatting content.  And a lot of work in keeping track of what has been sent where.

This can all be forgotten if you use a multi-channel printer.  The formatting work is down to them.

And, even better, they can use the different formats together very effectively.

Multi-channel printers can create great integrated campaigns

Multi-channel printers make sure that the different channels work together.  They can analyse the data from each channel.  They understand what works for each prospect.  So they know exactly the right way to communicate with an individual.

And, of course, this means that there is far less wasted marketing material.  And far less wasted marketing cost.  It’s just one way in which a multi-channel printer can save you effort.

Using multi-channel printers is more efficient

If you have a multi-channel printer, you have taken out the need for lots of separate suppliers.  So less time is needed to deal with suppliers.  There is less communication needed to ensure that all the channels work together and are schedule at the right time.  And, as I highlighted earlier, you can spend less time managing content.

A multi-channel printer can save you time, money and headaches.

But is there a trade-off for this?

Doesn’t using a multi-channel printer lead to less flexibility?

It’s true that there are certain instances where one channel may have some very specific requirements.  And in these cases specialist help may be needed.  The multi-channel printer may not have the right expertise.

However, in my experience, the campaigns that require this are very, very rare.  Having separate suppliers in case a campaign like this comes along is a very expensive insurance policy.

Most campaigns can be more than adequately served using multi-channel printers.  Here are a couple of examples.

Let’s look at a multi-channel magazine printer

One printer encourages companies to look at other ways in which they can publish their magazines.  They started off by offering turning page technologies to their clients.  Now their clients can also create apps.  And make sure that their titles can be bought through Apple and other electronic bookstores.

They develop their offering to make sure that small publishers can keep up with evolving trends in publishing.  But the publisher doesn’t have to do any strategic thinking.  They have a supplier who knows the latest developments.  And can advise them on how best to use them.

But multi-channel isn’t restricted to publishing.

A multi-channel printer changed the marketing for a football club

The football club used to send out flyers and e-mails.  But they didn’t do this in a coordinated way.  Then they appointed a multi-channel printer.

The printer now runs an integrated campaign, using personalised print, personalised websites and e-mails.  They measure how everyone responds to each campaign.  So they know the best way to communicate with an individual

They have also created some great marketing giveaways such as screensavers and posters.  These feature a subscribers name on the football jersey.  The response rate to marketing has risen sharply.

By now you may be tempted to pick up the phone to your printer and ask for multi-channel services.

Don’t assume anyone can be a multi-channel printer

A company needs specialist skills if it is to offer these sorts of services.  Print buyers need a way to work out which companies really can do what they say they can.  I will be writing more about this in a future article.

But, right now, you can be making some preparations to go multi-channel.

Here are three steps to start using a multi-channel printer

  1. Decide which channels you should be using
  2. Find printers who can offer the right channels for you
  3. Look out for my forthcoming article on how to choose the right printer

Soon you may be able to stop having to work with so many suppliers.  Whether you’re a marketer, a print buyer or a budding chef, it pays to remember the benefits of the one-stop shop.

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5 Responses to Three reasons why print buyers should use a multi-channel printer

  • sunil kapur says:

    have been doing this for four decades & it works

    • Matthew Parker says:

      Sunil, thank you for the endorsement. I am impressed that you have been offering e-mail and SMS for four decades ;o)
      Matthew

  • Paul Feeney says:

    This ‘one stop’ printshop idea has been around for as long as I’ve worked in print. More idealistic than practical, it ignores the critical advantage of spreading purchasing risk and capitalising on individual specialisation. You mention flexibility too, which in my mind would provide three good reasons NOT to use a multi-channel supplier.

    If a print buyer is going from one company to another, ‘managing’ suppliers; it’s not a multi-channel printer they need. They need some basic training in management. Print problems or supply issues are not eliminated or reduced by bundling them together but by focussing on individual, end solutions.

    Multi-channel print supply or not? It’s six of one or half a dozen of the other!

    • Matthew Parker says:

      Hello Paul,

      Thank you for your thoughts. I do think smaller companies are better paced with a single supply. There IS more time and effort spent in managing more supplier relationships. Larger companies can afford this and may benefit from using specialist companies. But who actually brings the different specialists together to create a coherent, joined up strategy?

      Like you said it’s six of one or half a dozen of the other!

      Matthew

  • Pingback: Print buyers: the three vital things to look for in a multi-channel printer | Print and Procurement

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