You Should Be Selling Digital Print to Creative Agencies — Here’s How
Many signage printers may underestimate the power of getting a creative agency on their side. Once you have a creative agency as a regular customer, you can expect diverse, exciting repeat business. Creative agencies by definition are constantly looking for ways to produce innovative and eye-catching campaigns — including window signage, POP applications, direct mail, etc. — which means flashy portfolio pieces for you to use to attract new customers.
But how can you show an agency you’re the shop for them? It all starts with demonstrating your value. Here’s how:
Make working with you the easy thing to do. Do some research on your potential customer and lead with the diverse and innovative ways you can meet their specific needs. Show them that you speak their language and understand their pain points. Follow up early and
often — but unobtrusively. If you catch a decision maker at just the right moment, that can make all the difference. Without crossing the line into “pushy,” make your business the first thing they think of when they think about signage. Also, consider partnering with other print providers whose offerings complement your own, such as a direct mail house, or adding those capabilities yourself so you can provide a convenient, single point of contact for agency customers who want signage, as well as direct mail or custom promotional items.
Expand your media capabilities — and bring samples. As part of getting and staying in front of an agency, stopping by to drop off a few samples can go a long way. Seeing and interacting with unexpected substrates can help inspire agency creatives with unexpected ideas for how to use them — which they’ll then want to print with you. Digital print substrate diversity has exploded in recent years, and it’s high time you take advantage. Dark, textured, synthetic and metallic substrates are becoming increasingly viable. Beyond providing a welcome opportunity for inspiration, leaving samples behind demonstrates an investment in the relationship, even a minor one, and it can reaffirm your seriousness about partnering with an agency. After a proofing round, consider upselling by bringing a sample printed on a higher-end substrate — glass, wood or brushed aluminum, for instance — you think would really showcase the brand’s message. That increases your margin on the sale, and helps you establish yourself as a trusted, knowledgeable partner.
Let your (and digital’s) strengths shine. Image quality in digital print has made incredible strides in the past decade, to the point many presses can quickly and affordably produce applications at offset or near-offset quality. The rise of expanded color gamuts bring pitch-perfect spot color matching to the world of digital print. That means the quality and fidelity of offset with the speed, short-run capabilities and superior eco-friendliness of digital print. Being able to match brand-specific colors in creative applications with fast turns on demand is a creative agency’s dream come true.
Show them the edges of what’s possible. Creative agencies know that sometimes their vision has to be scaled down to deal with realities. As a result, many experienced creatives internalize what they think signage can and can’t do, putting themselves in a box before they even begin. By politely engaging with and educating these creatives — it could be as simple as saying “let me know if I’m telling you something you already know, but…” — you can show them worlds of options beyond what they previously thought was possible.
In essence, creative agencies want new and better ways to creatively convey clients’ messages. Show them you can give them a big toolbox and the expertise and professionalism to make the most of it, and you’re in.