Have You Hugged Your Printer Today?
Ok, may be it has to be a virtual hug, but here’s a reason to show your printer some love.
By Carla Kalogeridis
I recently reviewed an article by Write Communications’ Kim Howard, a former association publishing executive and a former member of Association Media & Publishing’s board of directors. Titled, "What Your Printer Would Tell You — If Only You Would Listen,” Howard interviewed several printers and got them to come clean about the stuff associations do that causes them grief.
Now let’s be clear: Howard’s article is not a gripe session with a bunch of ungrateful printers. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The article interviews printers who are longstanding association partners — and they want to keep it that way. But wow, did it hit home. There were just too many things on their list that associations may be guilty of.
It is never our intention to not be a good partner for our printers — and after all, we are the customers, so we can get away with being a tiny bit annoying… right? But the truth is, there are things these printers mention that not only make their work more difficult, but also, can hold back our publications.
Howard’s article contains several reminders, but one that really resonated with me was this: Commit to your printer as a partner — don’t treat them like a commodity.
Associations spend a lot of time making decisions on who to hire for writing, editing, design, and ad sales — and we hope these important staff people stay with the publication for the long haul. Do we take as much time in selecting a printer — or do we mostly base the choice on price and then jump ship in the relationship if another printer comes along that will do the same thing cheaper? Interestingly, Howard’s article outlines the questions printers wish you would ask when you are selecting one of them to work with.
If you treat your printer like a partner — and share your vision and goals — they can offer ideas to get you there. After all, they deal with dozens of publishers all the time. There are strategies they can share that have worked for others that will work for you, too. But if you keep them at arm’s length, they won’t know how they can help.
"If you are looking at your printer as a commodity provider only, then you are cheating yourself,” says David O’Donley with Ovid Bell Press.
Association Media & Publishing’s Signature magazine, for example, would not be near the publication it is without our partnership with Sheridan Magazines. Sheridan is one of my go-to sources when I want to try something new in print or if I need to save money.
In addition, Howard’s article points out that some printers have gone well beyond paper and ink when it comes to what they can offer association publishers. Need an app? Try your printer.
Walsworth’s Andrew Shackelford explains in the article how some technologically advanced and diversified printers can help an association publish its content on a continuous basis through an app, with a program designed to fit the association’s specific communications strategy.
Look out for Howard’s article in the next Signature magazine. And in the meantime, give your printer a little love. You might be amazed at what you get in return.
Carla Kalogeridis is editorial director for Association Media & Publishing.