I spoke at the FESPA Global Summit back in January and, a couple of weeks after, took a call from one of printer delegates that had been there. In itself not unusual, I’m an obvious target for a cold call because I buy a fair bit of print. But this conversation went along the lines of,
Printer: “Hi Jacky. Did you get my parcel?”
Me: “Parcel? I don’t remember a parcel…”
Printer: “Hmmm, that’s strange. Someone in your office signed for it yesterday.”
Me: “Really? Give me your number. I’ll have a rummage and call you back.”
Turns out he was right. A package had been delivered, signed for and then, inexplicably, buried under an assortment of office debris. Parcel found I was intrigued to discover its contents. Shallow I know but I receive a box “out of the blue” and my greedy little brain assumes it’s going to be some sort of a gift!
Hastily unpacked, and really quite excited by this point, I found it contained a selection of samples (interesting substrates, nice finishing, well presented) and a letter. Again not particularly unusual you’d think. Except the difference with this “letter” was, not only was it beautifully designed and vibrantly coloured, it was a) all about me and b) printed onto a 10mm thick piece of acrylic so, actually, more of a wall plaque than a letter.
Guess what. I didn’t throw it away, I put it on my bookshelf and called him back. And, let me tell you that never happens. People don’t ring cold callers back. On the whole they’re lucky if they get through in the first place. We had a conversation. He was a really nice guy who’d come along to the Summit hoping for some “takeaways”; things that would help him in his business. There’d been plenty, he told me, and he went away feeling inspired.
One of the presentations he’d sat through was mine. I’d talked about printers’ marketing materials and how they should be the best. With all the production means at their disposal, their marketing collateral is an obvious way to demonstrate their skills; what we call “showing versus telling” in marketing. I’d also said that most I’d seen were disappointing; far too focussed on the technical, lots of references to equipment and, on the whole, just far too much about them and very little about me and how they might help me. I’d also referenced how many calls I get from printers asking if they can quote on my next project. Thereby making what they do all about price and, effectively, a commodity purchase rather than a service offering.
I was impressed, and flattered. He’d taken notice of what I’d said and put together something personal that demonstrated what he offered, talked personally and directly to me (and about me – never underestimate a marketer’s vanity!) and provided the opportunity for us to engage and have a conversation. In return he’d made me take notice of him. His approach was just a little bit different; what he sent reflected the quality of his workmanship and, because the plaque he sent sits on my bookshelf, there’s not a day goes past when I’m not exposed to his brand. Which, until I have a need for that particular service, has to be the best we can hope for with our marketing.