Six Questions to Ask Before Calling a Printer


Today’s marketers juggle a host of campaigns across a multitude of channels. Many of the tasks are completed in-house with marketing software, but that’s not the case for print campaigns. When it’s time to send direct mail, print a catalogue, buy promotional material, or order trade show displays, you call in a commercial printer.

Here are few questions to ask and answer to get ready for that call:

1. What’s the goal of the project/who is the audience?

The first step is to identify why you are doing the project. The response should fuel your campaign goal, which you can communicate to the printer.

For example, if your goal is to sell more products, which customers will you sell to? What action do you want the audience to take? What kind of sales growth are you hoping for? The more specific the better. A goal of increasing sales among loyal customers by 10% through a two-phase direct mail campaign is a goal that can be measured.

2. How many do you need?

You’ve identified who will receive this campaign, which should correlate to a specific number of print pieces. The audience size will dictate the quantity that’s printed. Be sure to account for additional samples, if you’d like to have those on hand.

The quantity will impact cost as it directly relates to materials, printing methods, and postage. Having a specific, well-defined audience will not only keep quantity levels down, but also give you the chance to tailor the campaign to that niche.

3. What’s your budget?

Before you request a quote from a commercial printer, set a budget. When you talk with a printer, their team will be able to make suggestions on size, format, stock (paper type and weight) and quantity to meet that budget.

4. Does your company have sustainability goals?

If your company prioritizes sustainability, let your printer know. They can suggest an FSC-certified paper that complements your sustainable policy. Working with an SGP-certified printer is also an option, as they are 100% sustainable in all aspects of their business.

5. What’s your deadline?

Print technology has shortened turnaround times for commercial print orders, but it’s always best to plan ahead.

It’s a good idea to set several milestones, rather than just one hard-and-fast deadline. For example, set a deadline to approve creative, review pre-production samples, receive press checks, get approval from the client, and mail the pieces out.

6. Do you have artwork ready?

If you have a design created, you can send it to the printer to initiate the process. A picture or PDF is a great way to explain what you’re looking for. From there, the printer will ask questions and make any necessary adjustments to the design to make sure it prints properly.

If you don’t have artwork ready, many commercial printers offer creative services and can handle the design aspect of the project as well.

A partnership with a commercial printer can be extremely valuable to in-house agencies. Using the information above, you can feel confident in approaching a printer for your next marketing campaign. To learn more about requesting a print quote, download this guide, "Everything You Need to Know To Get An Accurate Print Quickly."

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