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    « Love Thine Enemy | Main | Low Cost versus Solution Providers »

    December 11, 2006

    Blueprinter, Printer or Something Else?

    I have spent the last few days with sales representatives in the commercial reprographics industry.  All have been trying hard to sell technology solutions with varied success.  I heard quite a bit of discontent relating to the branding of our industry.  I'd like to get some more feedback.

    • What do you call yourself when you call on a customer?
    • Do you try to hide the fact that you work for a reprographer to sound more strategic?
    • Have you ever heard a customer use the term "reprographer"?
    • Do your customers call you "a printer"?
    • Is this a positive brand?
    • Do they feel comfortable buying technology from "a printer"?
    • Are there other brands or branding strategies you use to distance yourself from the "printer" brand?

    Please feel free to comment by hitting the "comments" link below.  If you want it to be anonymous say so in the comment.  I will pre-approve the comments and remove names if you desire.

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    Comments

    Collin Zuccarelli

    All sections of the AEC industry are still composed of a wide age range of people. I feel a component of the described 'issue' is that many of those people have seen the analog to digital shift. The result is, in some instances, if 'xyz repro' was regarded as a 'cutting edge' technology company then acceptance is easier to gain. But for the number of smaller independent shops it really is hard to market a tech solution without a 'I have that(planroom) solution,too'.

    Joe Gardner

    Instead of just coming across as a vendor to our customers, I like to postion us as more of a partner in business. I use the term construction document management when talking about my business. I try to convince the customer that we have his best interest in mind and are providing him with the best product in the timelest fashion. If it is a disc that he needs or FTP drop site. All that has cost attached that reflect the value to the customer

    Joe
    Pelican

    Dale Carlin

    I had attended Autodesk University the other week in Las Vegas and I'm always surprised when I talk to AutoCAD users to find that very few immediately recognize when I say I’m a reprographer but when I say printer or blueprinter they click in quicker and will begin asking questions related to our business.

    I also would say that an organization like IRGA is looking to brand any name exhibiting at a yearly event like AU can only benefit the association. This event puts you in the middle of reprographers client base with over 7500 people that attended this years event that consist of Developers to Architects and General Contractors to name a few.

    If the AU event sounds intriguing I am available to discuss how I see IRGA’s place is such an event.

    Michael A. Duff

    I started out my business career as a Blue printer in the 60’s. My clients understood what we did -- no explanation was necessary.
    In the 70’s with the coming of pin bar and overlay drafting -- and under much pressure from my leaders and the reprographic industry -- I became an reprographer.
    As a reprographer I had to explain what it was my company did, and where we fit in to what our clients needed or did, most of the time they had no idea what a reprographer was, nor did they care. That lasted to the 90’s and CAD. I gave up being a reprographer in 95 and went back to being a Blue Printer.
    When I gave my company name and said I was a Blue Printer, that put me into a class that they immediately understood. That would allow me to then cover what we did, and how we can help with CAD, Plan Rooms, Color and evolving technology.
    To me Blue Printer is a classification that is understood by the AEC community, and for the most part a much respected profession with in the AEC world.

    Duff

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