Wide Format Means Big Opportunity…Selling it Right

By | June 6, 2011

The wide format printing business is unquestionably a great business opportunity for commercial printers, quick printers, and graphic arts firms. You can still get an excellent profit margin if you produce good work, develop your customer account base, and deliver the goods reliably. Because the wide format digital printing market is also highly fragmented, there is no “one way” to sell wide format print that suits all types of wide format printing organizations.

 Strategies for Success

InfoTrends recently interviewed a geographically dispersed group of wide format printing organizations to find out what methods have been the most successful for them. Here are some important elements to keep in mind when developing strategies to sell your wide format services:

Know your product: Obtain as much written information as you possibly can on your printers, ink, and media; make sure your sales and marketing materials detail the features and benefits of the systems and supplies you use. Try to show prospects data that helps them recognize the benefits they will achieve as a result of implementing more visual advertising to drive additional demand.

Know your market: Targeting a particular segment of the industry is a good idea because it makes it easier to address a particular set of customers with solutions that fit their business. It is also important to understand the directions within these key customer segments.

Know your customers: InfoTrends’ research with print service providers indicated that 49% of customers were primarily interested in outstanding quality, 24% were primarily price-driven, and another 12% were most interested in fast service. Customers often do not have the time to develop new ideas for themselves or to manage advertising related projects; this presents an opportunity for printers to extend their design and creative services and take on a greater role in the management of advertising projects.

Know your competition: Knowledge of the local competitive market can help you figure out where there are gaps in capabilities and determine opportunities for differentiation. Understanding the local market can also aid print service providers in developing pricing strategies and outsourcing relationships. InfoTrends’ recommendation to major national print service provider organizations such as the office superstores or printing networks would be to hire sales people from the ranks of the wide format print service providers to drive this more profitable line of business.

 Sometimes the best way to build your reputation is good public relations. A number of service providers are finding that an effective way to market wide format printing services is to donate some wide format print services to non-profit or community organizations. Many of the people that work for these organizations own or operate local businesses that could become clients.

A good pricing strategy is critical. It is very important for wide format print service providers to price their services effectively. By knowing your market, customers, and competitors, you should have a good idea of where your pricing should fall. Companies in the wide format printing business typically price jobs on a cost per square foot or cost per piece basis. In many cases, print buyers may require this approach to pricing because it allows them to try to compare competitive print bids on an even basis. Nevertheless, as often as possible, InfoTrends recommends that print service providers develop more of a cost-per-piece approach that factors in some of the additional services like finishing or grommeting, which are add-on costs that frustrate print buyers by driving up project costs. In addition, we are seeing signage become part of interactive marketing campaigns. QR codes and variable data are part of the wide format product mix today. It opens tremendous value add opportunity for the signage provider.

 The Bottom Line

Wide format digital printing will provide new revenue streams for those who adopt this technology. While there will be challenges along the way, wide format digital is a large and profitable market. Those that partner effectively build the right marketing and sales plans and apply their creativity and expertise will reap the rewards.

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