Even with Americans being vaccinated at an astonishing pace, we are not out of the woods regarding businesses reopening and people returning to offices. As a matter of fact, some companies are choosing to give up the brick and mortar and panoramic views from office buildings and continue working virtually as they have for over a year.
While I am not an analyst, I think it is a fair conclusion to draw that by virtue of the Covid commercial purge, there will be less B2B print sales required in the world. It is not going to miraculously come back because you have ‘better quality, service and pricing’ than your competition. It is not going to miraculously come back because people delete emails and are on digital overload.
It is not coming back because the world has drastically changed over the last year and if you are looking – or worse waiting – for your version of pre-Covid normal to return, as Douglas Adams so poignantly wrote in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, “so long, and thanks for all the fish.”
Now for the good news. By the third quarter of 2021, plenty of businesses are returning to the office. There are still plenty of commercial businesses with B2B print needs now, and new opportunities that Covid has created. However, you cannot, and I repeat cannot sit back and wait for print work to come to you. In this new normal we are creating day-by-day, B2B businesses need you to bring the printing expertise as well as the ideas.
Here are 3 verticals that are viable targets for print needs now and as we approach the fall.
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
People leaving spaces, people needing spaces, people renovating and transforming spaces. All roads lead to commercial realtors. Instead of fighting over the price of a ‘For Rent’ banner with every other printer in your area, come up with packages and a menu of services developed exclusively for THAT commercial real estate company, and even for the specific brokers who work there.
Have a package for Jill who only sells retail space. One for Eduardo who only handles commercial leasing, one for Ashanti who does both. The package can include everything from their business cards zoom backgrounds. Sell sheets and signage. Everything they need to close a deal wrapped up into one neat offering with menu options and pricing.
To take this to the NEXT level… don’t get left out when it comes to the new tenants. Create a package for everything THAT specific business needs to get open and running as quickly and smoothly as possible. Create office décor packages, welcome to the neighborhood packages that includes using Every Door Direct Mail to tell the community they have arrived.
That is just a brainstorming taste. Gather your team and discuss what is possible for you to offer with your capabilities and assists from outside partners. If you have any holes in packages find more partners.
CLEAN IS THE NEW BLACK
As spaces and businesses reopen it is important to keep in mind that Covid isn’t going away. Customers and consumers may still be concerned about venturing out to commercial spaces, including restaurants and offices, hotels, and smaller gathering spaces.
A trend I have identified by watching TV commercials (yes, I am still doing my consumer research that way!) is centered on the concept of clean. I have seen a plethora of companies advertising cleaning and sanitizing services for businesses that come with a cleanliness seal that is displayed prominently on the front door or window. This lets customers know it is ‘safe’ to enter – and I will caveat that I am sharing information from commercials and not making medical claims about the service.
Let’s look at ‘clean’ as a marketing opportunity. We have cleaning businesses popping up all over. Most seem to be franchised. They need to let people know they are available to help. EVERY business within the area they serve is a potential customer. Once they have cleaned and the business has a decal, there is an opportunity to help THAT business tell everyone they are clean and share their investment in the safety of their customers through messaging and marketing.
I am just starting you off with an idea. Find out if these franchises are opening around you. Talk to them. You know the neighborhood. Help them strategize a marketing roll-out. Create packages that help the cleaning business get customers, and the cleaned customers get customers. Don’t open the door for someone else. Make it a closed-loop process that benefits everyone and please, don’t discount anything. Throw in something that makes sense and has perceived value to your customer if you need to sweeten the deal.
The convenience of one-stop-shopping and bringing opportunity to help these businesses generate business must be held in high regard by you, first. Then stand by it. This is the moment to create a new normal where B2B customers are collaborative and grateful we are around. It’s not about price.
This one involves playing the long game for a big reward, but it is critical you start now.
The United States has an infrastructure bill under development. Should it pass, the largest renovation of bridges and highways and buildings since post World War II will begin across the country. To gain support, some of the intended projects (or maybe all, I haven’t read the draft) are listed. That means you can know where construction will be taking place, and start creating relationships with every construction company and construction supplier within a reasonable distance of the site.
Join construction-related groups on LinkedIn and learn about their needs. Visit construction sites, gather intel, make note of the supplier trucks and logos on protective gear and materials. Make note of the brand of shoes worn by construction workers, where they eat lunch, what they bring for lunch. These are just a few examples to get you started. Create a master list and then come up with marketing opportunities that center around a construction site and benefit local businesses. Buy 1 Get 1 happy hour for Construction Workers, lunch or breakfast specials from a diner, a sale on safety goggles or steel-toed boots. This may manifest as handing out flyers or ads in the local paper or social media campaigns that target construction workers in specific locations. However, it happens, you are in the center of it, and giving local businesses a quick win will open them up to doing more with you.
The other opportunity rolled into this is helping the construction companies bid on the work. I must assume there is a formal process when city/state/federal funding is involved. Now would be the time to become the expert in all things needed so you can help companies present their bids professionally and win work. Imagine the strength of that relationship and the customer loyalty it brings.
Project Peacock is back as a Platform and is open 24/7 after we launch on April 29th with an education and networking event!
Project Peacock Postal kicks off at 6 PM ET with a presentation by Lily Harder, Senior Director of Marketing Strategy at Comperemedia, presenting up-to-date, exclusive consumer research data that drives direct mail marketing success. There will be plenty of networking, intel gathering partnerships formed at partner booths. Make sure you visit everyone and level up your print marketing offerings, tools, and relationships.
Register to attend the event and access the platform for free. Download a partner proposal if you are interested in sharing your knowledge, samples, products, and services with printers and print customers. Print Service Providers are most welcome to join in and make new print buying friends all year!
PROSPECT LONG AND PROSPER!
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse™ at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist™, industry speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts from The Printerverse, the cultivator of Print Production Professionals the #1 print group on LinkedIn, Girl #1 at GirlsWhoPrint, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4 PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors including the 2016 Girls Who Print Girlie Award and sits on the board of The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi and is a Member-at-Large for the Advertising Production Club of NYC.
Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer. She currently provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through PMC and 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.
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