Where, Oh Where Did the Print Customers Go?

I have had vast conversations with big-budget buyers and print buyers buying on a budget over the last two years. I have spoken to designers, marketers, and decision-makers on all levels. One thing most have in common – uncertainly regarding their futures, and where they will be working in 2022 and beyond.

The ‘where’ not only applies to which company and its geographical location, it also applies to working from home, or from the office. The end of Covid and social distancing is not going to be the end of remote working, as a matter of fact, the office may be one of the biggest causalities of the pandemic.

how do you find customers who are remote working

In October of 2021, Cushman & Wakefield, a global real-estate firm released data from a survey they conducted on returning to the office. Here are a few key findings.

• 40% of the workforce returned to the office as of September 2021.

• Employees DO NOT want to return to the ‘office’ as it was pre-Pandemic.

• Companies are examining return strategies that provide worker flexibility.

• A VAST MAJORITY of businesses are adopting a 3/2 model (3 days in/2 days out).

The consensus from this survey and a bunch of google searching on the topic puts some offices officially reopening first quarter 2022, more seem to be waiting until the second quarter to give them time to prepare for safe employee return and I must assume figure out who is willing to go back before they make final policy decisions.

Do you have a strategy for selling into remote or hybrid companies?

For the past 2ish years you may have been dealing with this in a band-aid type of way, thinking the remote working scenario would heal itself. You may have been able to track a few remote customers down, got some to provide their home addresses, maybe you met face-to-face beyond an office setting.

What have you learned? Can success be replicated?

What are you doing about the customers and prospects you couldn’t track down – whether they moved, changed jobs, or worse? 700,000 people lost their lives to Covid in the US alone? Do you know if any of your customers and prospects are accounted for in that number?

That may seem harsh, I understand. Do you think me writing that is worse than trying to find and speak to someone who has passed? Especially if you are calling their home?

If you have been playing in the minor leagues of finding print customers, it’s time to go pro. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Your approach greatly depends on the strength of your established relationships with customers and prospects in 2019 and prior, and how receptive they have been to communicate with you since March 2020.

Ponder all of that, create a strategy, plan, and execute Operation Find the Print Buyers.

I do have one suggestion that may garner you some immediate results if you have been ghosted by customers and prospects you have at least one form of contact info – whether that is a phone number, email, or social media connection.

free online event about paper design and marketing

“Hi, Deborah… it’s been a while I do hope all is well on your end. I am updating our HOLIDAY GIFT mailing list and since so many people have been moving around, I am hoping you can supply an address and contact info to reach you out of the office. If you are picking packages up at the office, please let me know and I can send this package there.”

Not many people are going to refuse a holiday gift, especially if you have an established relationship.

Make sure there is a printed (by you) holiday card with a handwritten note from you in the package, and the package also includes information about your company, your business card, your back to office situation, any convenient processes you have established for remote workers to work with you, and news about any new capabilities you many have acquired over the last 2 years that has been customized to explain the specific benefit to that customer.

Make it an unboxing experience if you can without REQUESTING they post pics and videos on social media. it will be more memorable that the package was for them, no strings attached. If they share in social, bonus. Take the unsolicited win.

Once you have established trust, don’t break it.

It’s really that simple.

If a customer lets you into their home – through the mail or the door or a video chat, be a fantastic guest who never intrudes or overstays their welcome. Getting invited back is the goal, no matter where they are working from.

More posts from Deborah

DeborahCorn-PrintMediaCentrDeborah 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 on the Advisory Board 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 sales, social media, and content marketing endeavors.

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