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The Push and Pull of the Market

(October 2006) posted on Fri Nov 03, 2006

Discover Marketing tools that will help you effectively promote your business and increase job orders from existing and potential customers.

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By Gordon Roberts

The push strategy

A good marketing plan addresses two strategies: push and pull. The push strategy requires a little work, and, in our industry, it's usually handled by our sales reps who visit potential customers, persuade them to use our products, and then later convince them to upgrade and enhance their products to maximize our profit potential. These customers become our regulars. We often take them for granted, processing their orders and cashing their checks without a lot of thought.

Perhaps it's time to get creative and come up with some incentives that will motivate your sales force to root out extra print jobs. Begin by making sure that every one of your regular customers knows that you offer a long list of products beyond the one or two products that you deliver to them regularly. Make sure your P-O-P customers know that you also print political signage. When that customer decides to run for the school board this November, he or she will know who to call for campaign signs. That customer's accountant might need you to design and print sweats for her family reunion. Does the young guy in the customer's shipping department know he can order rock band T-shirts through your company?

How many times have customers visited you and exclaimed that they didn't know you offer a particular product? That's a sign. You must find a way to communicate to your customers—old, new, and potential—that your shop most likely can print anything they might need.

The pull strategy

It's not hard to argue that we are possibly the best industry at creating marketing products but one of the worst industries at utilizing them. I did some consulting work at a pad-printing facility that supplied trinkets to the golf and tennis markets. In all its years in business, the company had never used its design team or pad-printing machines to advertise its own products! Instead, the company relied on direct mailings and print advertising, which had long ceased to be effective. After a little brainstorming, one of the employees came up with the idea to supplement the company's direct mailings with a key ring onto which the company's Website address and telephone number were pad printed.


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