Ad-Agency Print Buying Strategies
Achieving a successful ad campaign begins with a great strategy and a great design, but the entire project isn't worth the paper it's printed on if the print vendor chosen for the job is unable to meet these three criteria—reliable service, flexibility and, most important, quality.
The print portion of the cost of any marketing campaign ranges from 25 percent to as much as 30 percent of the job. But it is often the most important element, culminating in the finished print product that the targeted audience sees. And the print quality is often the determining factor in a campaign's success or failure.
"Ad agencies are going to look for somebody they can depend on, so that what is produced is their vision and their client's vision of what that piece is supposed to be," says Jon Singer, VP of sales and marketing of Banta Corp.'s direct marketing and catalog group. "So they're going to be very, very careful as to what print vendors they choose."
One of the first challenges an agency must contend with is finding a printer with a good reputation and reliable customer service. That might seem obvious, but it's sometimes overlooked, especially when dealing with a printer for the first time. It only takes one misstep to ruin the campaign and your relationship with your client.
Therefore it's important for print buyers to stay informed and know the vendors who are capable of handling any type of request.
"It's all about networking," says Victor Basile, senior VP, director of print graphic services, Publicis USA, a major advertising firm based in New York. "I need to know who's out there, and I need to be able to make smart recommendations to my clients. When I'm briefed on a project, I need to be able to call on a source I can trust, and that can get the job done within budget."