Greetings Citizens of The Printerverse. It’s me… though today I’ve swapped-out my Intergalactic Ambassador antennae for my Print Buyerologist hat while I am writing this post.

We are 41 days into 2018 and I have been keeping track of the meaningful vs. meaningless marketing material and “cold-call” emails from printers and suppliers that flood 4 of my most used email addresses on a daily/hourly basis. So far, only 2 of several hundred have had any relevance. TWO. And they knew who I was, what I did and how they could add value.

calling on ad agency-print-media-centr

Now on one hand I’d like to personally thank all of those emailers wasting my time (and theirs) because it is that behavior that is driving marketers to pump more dollars into print, and rethink e-delivery.

On the other hand… come on. How long does it actually take to do a little clicking and assess if what I do, and what you do, makes sense together. At least 644 people didn’t bother, so far.

There is a lot of positive industry talk these days about bringing the supply chain together… what I am calling from “Manufacturer to Maker.” (listen to the podcast: New Org On The Block – The Association for Print Technologies). Wonderful. About time. Dilly, Dilly! However, before you start planning to step in front of an ad agency print buyer, here are 5 things you need to get right:

Who Are You? That is not a simple question, but it should have a very simple, easy to understand and precise answer. Until you are confident in who you are and what you do, don’t blow that first impression.

What Have You Done? Technology is awesome, but do not underestimate the power of CRAFT and legacy with the agencies. It’s cool to share where you are, just don’t leave out where you have been. The millennials especially like seasoned professionals who are “masters” at their craft… as long as you are gently educating and bringing ideas through samples… not directing them.

Have Something Cool! The agencies live for one thing: Awards. If your bag of tricks is void of tricks, stay away. They don’t need another output house. You can define cool as you see fit, I would define it as ANYTHING that sparks creativity aka printspiration. And ps… that tri-fold brochure about your capabilities is not cool. It could be. Work on it!

Win The Numbers Game. No one in an advertising agency wants to buy cheap print. Lead with pricing and more likely than not you will remain outside. To play in this game, quickly provide the best quotes for exactly what was asked for – no substitutions. Additionally, provide “cost-saving” options, and options for producing the piece as if there were no budget concerns. The buyer has what they need from you to make a decision, and at the same time you have given them ideas for execution and shown off your capabilities. Don’t forget to included printed samples that incorporate the printing method, materials and finishing with all quotes. It’s easier for advertising buyers to champion what they can see and feel, and pass along for “approval” whether internally or externally.

Talk Tracking. Unless you have something new and relevant to say, and can contribute positively to the daily life of an ad agency print buyer and their printed materials, stay outside. Gather info, watch what they are producing, what they aren’t, and where you could add value. It may be in fulfilment, or finishing or one small piece of the job. That is ok. Stay focused on what they don’t have … but could, vs what they do have and how you can do it, too. That distinction is huge.


In 2017 I created #ProjectPeacock, a high-level digital print show-and-tell presented in the conference rooms of ad agencies and brands. I partnered with Canon Solutions America, Domtar, Scodix, Trekk (NYC/Chicago) and Miralupa (SF). We visited with over 300 print buyers and creatives in NYC, Chicago and the Bay Area to show them the advances in print (digital toner, inkjet, wide format) and paper and marketing technology. Their feedback is incorporated above.

In 2018, #ProjectPeacock is heading to Austin, Minneapolis, Seattle and San Diego. I am sharing what we have learned and continue to learn from these visits in my posts and at these upcoming events: #SPICYtalks18 in Chicago,  #SPICYtalks18 in Amsterdam, Dscoop Dallas and ACT8.

If you are in an agency (or brand / in-house marketing) in one of those four cities and would like #ProjectPeacock to drop by for a cool presentation with SNACKS in your own conference room, please reach out!

I am in need of some funky finishing suppliers / specialty print partners for #ProjectPeacock 2018. To clarify, only manufacturers, suppliers and paper mills/merchants can join #ProjectPeacock, no Printers… but stay tuned, I am working on that!

Print Long and Prosper!

PS… in case you missed the BIG news: Podcasts from The Printerverse has landed!

DeborahCorn-PrintMediaCentrDeborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr, a Print Buyerologist™, industry speaker and author, host of Podcasts from The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionalsthe #1 print group on LinkedIn, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4PM ET on Twitter, and the founder of International Print Day. She is the recipient of several industry honors including the 2016 Girls Who Print Girlie Award, and sits on the board of the Advertising Production Club of NYC.

Deborah has 25+ years experience working in advertising as a Print Producer, and currently works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers and achieve success with their social media and content marketing endeavors.

Connect with Deborah: Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / Instagram / YouTube / Pinterest / Print Production Professionals Group /

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