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At allura, we bring our decades of expertise in printing to each print job and in answering client questions so they can tell their story, connect with their audience and grow!
We want to share our printing knowledge with you too!
In our blog, "allura printing solved", we address the questions we hear from our clients and share insights from the printing industry to help you make an educated decision about your printing needs. Enjoy these posts and let's start a conversation together!
allura. printing solved.
A Printing Services Client’s Hierarchy of Needs
Do you remember studying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in high school or university?
Authored by Abraham Maslow in 1943, this psychology model identifies an order in which we seek to meet our human needs from the most basic, such as food and shelter, to the most cerebral, self-actualization, that point when we can realize our full potential. Each level in the hierarchy must be met before higher levels can be met. The five levels of needs are often presented as a pyramid.
So what do Maslow and his theory have to do with ordering printing services? Actually, quite a lot!
Ordering printing services from a print company can certainly be just a transaction. You need something printed and you search for “printing companies near me” to select one. But usually as a business manager or marketer with a lot of accountabilities we are seeking more than that. We want to find a vendor that can be trusted for our future printing needs. Someone who can help identify the best solution and be counted on to get the work done right and on time. Most of us have selected one or more printers to work together this way. But have you stepped back and thought about how strong your relationship is? Are just your basic needs being met or are you benefiting at a higher level? And what are these higher levels of print service needs?
We’ve put together a Printing Client Hierarchy of Needs as a framework for evaluating how well your printing company is making you happy. You can use this as a reference for thinking about your current printers and evaluating future ones too.
A Client’s Needs
Step 1: Get it Done On Quality, On Budget and On Time
These are the basics and are truly the givens with any kind of printing order. You want quality professional results. You also want the work to be done at the cost that you were quoted. And the printing needs to be completed on schedule too. Without any of these core needs being met, the work will not be satisfactory.
Step 2: Communicate – Keep Me Informed
Stepping up a level from meeting your project deliverables are your communication needs. Good communication is critical throughout any project and printing services is no exception. You want your questions answered quickly and you want to know when key milestones in the printing process are being met. You want to be kept informed. This way you always have the pulse of your project and can have enough time to address issues when they come up. The communication mantra should be transparent, honest, timely and “no surprises”!
Step 3: Be a Good Partner – Anticipate Issues For Me
There is reactive communication and then there is proactive communication. At this level, your printing company is not just doing a good job in responding to your emails and phone calls. They are managing the print job such that they are identifying potential roadblocks or issues before they happen. This could be the lack of a specific type of paper that was originally identified for a print job to a problem with artwork or a file during prepress. By looking down the road far enough and being nimble when problems arise, your printing services provider can be helping you avoid major delays and issues for your project. They are anticipating what comes next!
Step 4: Expert Resource – Add Value to My Project
At this level, your need to have a printer be an expert resource is being met. They are not just “filling an order” but are bringing their printing expertise to help you define the printing need optimally, providing options to consider and delivering a great print solution. You are able to rely on their input, feedback and vision to enhance the print work through their understanding of what is possible throughout the printing process and the technologies that are available.
Step 5: Alleviate My Stress
Now we are reaching a point in the Printing Client Hierarchy of Needs where it is less about the work itself and more about what impact great work and a great relationship can have on you the client! When your printing company has met all of the prior need states, you are in a position not to be stressed about whether the work will be done correctly and optimally. You know the work will be done right and that your deadlines will be met. You can focus on other priorities with this peace of mind.
Step 6: Elevate My Brand
Your print job, no matter how small, is a reflection of your brand. When a potential client sees your banner, receives your direct mail, or opens your brochure, they are interacting with your brand. It is a touch point and it has the potential to enhance their impressions of your brand or detract from it. When great print services are delivered, your brand shines. And because of the tactile quality of print communications, the impact of the look and feel of the print job can be significant.
Step 7: Make Me Shine
Congratulations- you’ve reached the top of the pyramid. In Maslow’s terms, you are “self-actualizing”. When it is all said and done, the work is a reflection of you and your personal brand. When great printing is delivered by your printing company and the overall process of working together has been optimized, you have a chance to shine. Consider that moment when you give the head of your department or company a sample of the work. Is it something you can be proud of? Will it reflect positively on you? With a great printer and a relationship that is meeting all of the client need states it will. And you can shine!
The 7 steps of the Printing Client Hierarchy of Needs is a journey and it takes time to progress through the client need states. With every print services order you have an opportunity to travel up (and hopefully not down) the pyramid. With time and experience working with the same printers you can build a foundation of trust and a shared knowledge of your brand and printing needs that can take you up the pyramid where your print work reaches the fullest potential and makes you shine!
Lets Talk About Your Printing
We always strive to understand the business, the brand and the people behind a project so we can deliver the best solution tailored to our clients' needs. We invite you to try us for your next printing project. Welcome to allura. printing solved.
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