by Sandy Hubbard

Printers who have a solid, loyal clientele always need to sell more to existing customers. Here’s how to do more and sell more with the information you have.

First, let’s find a place to get creative. It’s easiest to use a spreadsheet program. My clients have used whiteboards, graph paper, mind maps, and questionnaires.

Tip: Please don’t do this exercise inside Salesforce or your contact management program. If you create a hundred extra custom fields in those programs, you’ll hate yourself (and me) later.

  1. Export all contacts. Hopefully, you have a master list. If not, gather data from sales, customer service, billing, delivery, etc. Export all the fields, even if they seem unnecessary.
  2. Import everything from the various sources into one spreadsheet file in Microsoft Excel or similar. I use a free open-source program.
  3. Import all fields and name them. Follow good housekeeping practices, so you don’t end up with duplicate or unassigned fields.
  4. Once everything is imported, and the fields are named, take a break. You’re going to change your brain from spreadsheet mode to creative mode.
  5. Next, for each contact, begin to assign attributes. Think of traits, habits, lifestyles, hobbies, or anything that comes to mind when you think of that person. Create a new field (column with a named header) for each new attribute. If you can’t think of anything, or if it will require research, move on to the next contact.
  6. We’ll talk in another article about how to get information if you don’t know the contact personally.
  7. Before long, you’ll think of attributes that apply to multiple contacts: “Anne rides a motorcycle to work and so does Phil. And  there a bunch of these contacts who ride bikes or use public transportation.”
  8. After a few hours, you’ll be ready to call it a day. Before you close up your lists, scan through the contacts you’ll be looking at tomorrow so your subconscious can work on them.
  9. Once you’ve assigned attributes to all of your contacts, start combining custom fields. I actually take index cards and write the field names (attributes) on them. Then I start pairing them up like I’m playing Go Fish or Old Maid.
  10. Soon you’ll discover exciting combinations. You’ll discover natural combinations where a set of contacts share three or more similarities.

This is where the magic happens.

The magic is that you can create print, direct mail, and email campaigns around these commonalities. If you’re doing this exercise for yourself, your selling will become incredibly creative and targeted. If you’re doing this for a client, they will think you’re a genius.*

Ultimately, the combinations you create allow you to better visualize the recipients you will be marketing to. Selling deeper into your own customer list — especially when you can print, mail, and email your campaigns with your own resources — becomes so much more effective when you can picture a group of people with common attributes.

Here are ideas for campaigns you could design around print, mail or email — by going deep in your customer’s data to help them creatively reach new markets and niches.

Married+homeowner+pet owner =

  • “Invisible Fence” electronic pet boundary service
  • Cargo pet carriers for bikes
  • Yard service for treating brown patches in the grass
  • Natural flea treatments for exotic pets

Single+boat owner+over 40 =

  • Luxury group vacations
  • Fashionable outdoor clothing
  • Natural sea sickness medication that won’t interact with pharmaceuticals
  • High-tech gear such as GPS, waterproof cameras, depth finders

Crafters+empty nesters+wine connoisseurs =

  • Luxury group vacations (combine this group with the boaters above)
  • Homebuilding services for crafting space, studio, or wine cellar
  • Wine country events staged in creative outdoor or rustic spaces
  • Handcrafted wine gadgets

Graduating college senior+new car owner+renter =

  • Discounts on insurance packages
  • Resume writing services
  • Space saving furniture
  • Realtor services and classes for first-time homebuyers


Sandy Hubbard is a marketing consultant and strategist. She specializes in printing companies that are in transition or extreme growth mode. She knows how to help printers and their teams build marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul…without stress.



Sales and marketing printspiration for business success delivered 1x a month!

Print Media Centr

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Canon Solutions America Production Printing

%d bloggers like this: