Don't Call Me a Print Buyer
Who are you? Recently, I've been asked this exact question while registering on some printing industry Web sites. Unfortunately, these sites only gave me one choice: print buyer. Now, I know this is an important function; the problem is, I am not a print buyer. I am a Print Production Professional.
You may ask, is there a distinction? I have to admit, I thought it might just be a pet peeve of mine, until I picked up the phone, wrote some emails and asked a few colleagues for their thoughts on the issue.
Joyce Hurd is senior vice president of production at Hill/Holliday, Boston. She's a veteran of the agency business and feels that the term 'print buyer' does not fit her at all. "A Production Professional is very executional," she says. "There is so much more on our table."
In offering an example, she draws on a past client for which her agency used to design. The print buyers rarely participated in the early creative stages of the projects. They simply received a spec sheet developed by the agency's production team, and set out to award the print job to the lowest bidder. This sometimes required a change to the specs. In any event, the agency wasn't always informed of such changes, causing a few raised eyebrows when the job was delivered. "Those people were buyers," Hurd stresses. "They could [also] buy widgets. But on that day, they were buying printing."
This reminded me of an encounter of my own. At the time, I was selling printing and I had a meeting with a gentleman from a large public utility. I was there to discuss their annual report. As we were discussing specifications of the project, one of his co-workers interrupted to inform him that the office was running low on toilet paper! "Gee, I am sorry, was the 70# gloss text not supposed to be put in the men's room?"