The Significant Cost of Outsourcing In-House Print Buyers

Among all the useless, and often industry self-generated questions of print relevance is a related topic that doesn’t get much airtime – Print Management Services.

Print Management Services come in many flavors, but at the core, these are companies that have workers either placed within or acting as Print Production Managers / Print Buyers for a company from a remote location. Some of the more well-known names of Print Management companies are InnerWorkings, HH Global, Williams Lea Tag and Schawk.


I could easily argue that Print Management Services were born as a result of money being spent on irrelevant print. By irrelevant I mean ineffective as a marketing tool, not a categorization of the medium, and it’s about time we started addressing that as the distinction.

While many industry talk tracks still remain focused on proving print is “alive and relevant” with stats about Millennials, an entire arm of the print production and creative process is being deemed irrelevant and outsourced for a cheaper option. Yes, in-house Print Buyers are losing their jobs on price; a price being set by Print Management Services that lowers the bar for everyone.

Here is my disclaimer, and I say it because I believe it. There are SOME circumstances where Print Management Services are needed and without them, those printed materials wouldn’t exist. Think of somewhere where the same person who buys office supplies also buys the print, or a company just starting out and has no access to knowledgeable print buyers. Print Management Services can also significantly improve quality, internal and external processes and add value through additional services – like file creation and digital asset management. They can save companies a significant amount of money with their buying power.


A short time ago a Print Buyer from a HUGE print buying corporation – $80Million + huge, reached out to talk about her recent experience with a Print Management Company and their mission to get her, her team and her loyal print partners out of the picture. She agreed to record a podcast with me, and I only refer to her as “Dee” so she could speak freely.

It is VERY RARE to hear from a corporate print buyer of this caliber, and so candidly. I am sure there will be some backlash from the Print Management companies, but I welcome the conversation and I am open to recording alternative points of view.

“Dee” also shared some great intel on what makes a printer stand out from the 100’s of calls and emails she gets a week, and how to best approach someone in her position with a new technology or idea. Very helpful information, worth a listen before your next pitch or cold-call… Listen Long and Prosper!

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Deborah 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 Professionals the #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 boards of the Advertising Production Club of NYC and The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi.

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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