Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Less Really is More

read at MediaPost Publications
"The current generation of marketers is experienced in marketing to consumers who want more, but not in marketing to consumers who want less. New needs will have to be discovered. New solutions will have to be mastered and delivered. This is not to suggest that market opportunities are going to shrivel up and blow away. Instead, the biggest growth opportunities of tomorrow will be those that address the needs of consumers who are overwhelmed by super-abundance, not to mention suddenly unable to afford more and more of it. It means thinking about how to give consumers less in ways that deliver more value to their lives. That's what consumers will be willing, and able, to pay for."

So how does a printer give less and still earn more?


  1. Perhaps they can start by becoming print reduction consultants, kinda like personal trainers for print consumers:
    "Do you really need that many? Do you need that many colors? What's the ROI of this versus e-marketing? How does it effect your carbon footprint? Who reads this? How can we reduce distribution costs? How can we help target the audience better? How is does this leverage your web assets? Why not generic paper? Why not lighter paper? Why paper?"

  2. Good points!

    I remember in the old days I used to do lots of work with non profits. The number one question was always "How can I save money?" Although I couldn't say it at the time, the real answer is "don't print."

    I can't tell you how many very expensive invitations we used do for events that probably could have been better handled with a phone call. Or how many times it was "let's print 5,000", when the mailing list was 3,000. "The rest are so inexpensive, we'll just keep them in stock."

    If I were still in the game, there are so many web based communication tools out there . . .

    What I can't figure out is "how do you make a living, by telling people not to print?"

    I'm sure there must be a way, but I'm still working on it. If I figure it out, I'll post and you can tell me if it makes any sense.

  3. Making money's easy (in theory).

    Just identify a large enough prospect base who agrees with the value prop that getting honest advice saving money or carbon or trees or time is a reason to switch vendors.

    Then deliver on your promises.

  4. My experience is that it's pretty tricky to get people to pay for advice. They usually think they know more than you do in the first place. And they forget very quickly.

    As for switching vendors, only thing I know is that the way I used to get new customers was when another printer screwed up, I was top of mind, they called me, I answered the call fast, and "saved the day." Nothing else really worked.

    It's sort like a fireman. Hours of boredom. Moments of adrenalin.

  5. You're right about never paying for advice. being a non-paid consultant is what we called it.
    But if you can drive them to your website where you have right smack on the landing page graphic representations of how much they can increase their ROI and decrease their use of assets by utilizing your semi-transparent advice tools, you can make up in volume what you give up in margin and add-ons.

  6. I think your on point with "being a non-paid consultant." It would be great to figure out a practical way to become a "paid" consultant.

    I always thought that it would make sense to separate out the pricing for the object and the service. As in...x price for a press ready PDF plus clear specs that leads to printed piece. X+y price if 1. I have to help you figure out the specs, manage the logistics, etc etc.

    Then price the object with a pretty small margin and price the other stuff at Y dollars per hour.
    Keep track of the time with Basecamp and send a bill that breaks down the object and the service.