Left side advert image
Right side advert image
Super banner advert image
Subscribe to Print Monthly's RSS feed

Enter your email address here to sign up for our weekly newsletter

The Soap Box

Into the New Year

Genevieve Lewis listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies as they consider key industry challenges and the steps print companies can take to secure a successful future

Article picture

Three Glasgow winners (L to R): Florence Eckersley, Gillian Stewart, and Connor Daniels

Championing the sector’s rising stars

Brendan Perring,
general manager,

The IPIA has been a proud supporter of The Printing Charity, and in 2019 I had the privilege of judging its Print Futures Awards.

This fantastic initiative needs all our collective support, and chatting with Neil Lovell, chief executive, The Printing Charity, he explained to me why they continue to advocate for it passionately.

“Print is a part of our everyday lives, but the sector is not always seen as a glamorous one and we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to promoting it. Too few young people realise the incredible range of career opportunities it offers from highly technical and creative roles to heritage skills,” says Lovell.

He continues: “We are all aware that there is a critical need to bring young people into the sector and one of the ways that The Printing Charity is helping to champion the sector to the new generation is through our annual Print Futures Awards.”

These awards, which build on an earlier training scheme set up in 2003, have grown beyond expectations in the last few years and are now the largest single awards programme for people aged 18 to 30 years in the UK printing, paper, packaging, publishing, and graphic arts sector.

Grants of up to £1,500 each are available to support the sector’s rising stars.  We want to hear from those starting out in the sector, including apprentices, who want to develop their personal and professional skills to progress in their careers. Winners, however, cannot use their grants to pay for their employers’ own staff training costs.

Lovell adds: “One of our 91 winners from the 248 applications we received from across the country in 2019 was Connor Daniels, a customer service representative at MBM Print SCS in East Kilbride, Glasgow.

“He is ambitious and keen to use his people skills to move into a managerial role in the company. His award is funding four days’ classroom-based training plus one day for two exams to gain a Prince2 qualification in the methodology and implementation of project marketing. He is also undertaking a one-day classroom-based course in ethical selling.”

Connor also provided his view on just how the scheme helped him, commenting: “I would encourage anyone in the trade to apply for a Print Futures Award as it has opened doors that I did not think were possible. It has also helped me to define a more specific career path and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me in the print trade.”

What are new customers looking for?

Tony Kenton,

If you ask a typical print salesperson what are the most important things they should bring to a meeting with a prospective customer, they might mention items such as print samples, company brochures, sales presentations or price guides, but are these the most important?

Gimbel & Associates, one of the leading print industry consultancy groups in the US, interviewed print buyers about their experiences with printing company sales representatives and although US-based, the lessons learned are as relevant over here as they are there.  What they discovered was the things that buyers considered the most important were often missing from conversations with the print-service-providers coming to them for their business.

The fact is that although the print sales process has not changed much over the past decade, customer expectations have. Not only changed, but has risen in their need for a different type of input. It is clear that in order to land ‘new business’ print-service-providers now need to re-think their sales strategies and processes because unless they do and go through the process of reviewing and analysing their approach, there is little doubt they will see their sales efforts become ever less effective.

Print-service-providers now need to rethink their strategies

Taking a lesson from other industries that still manage to generate significant sales from their sales people I suggest tackling the issue from these three perspectives: preparation, presentation, and follow-up.

To read the full article, head to www.printmonthly.co.uk and search for ‘Kenton’

New Years’ resolutions

The repeated setting of New Year’s resolutions is often futile. It’s something a third of us do every year, but our best efforts are largely doomed to failure. Our personal intentions – whether it’s eating healthily, giving more to charity, swearing less or doing more exercise – generally suffer from lack of accountability as we find it all too easy to let ourselves down.

Setting business-related New Years’ resolutions can help

So how about setting some New Year’s resolutions for your business instead? And maybe sharing them with colleagues to make sure the new habits stick? We’ve put together a list of ideas which, with a little commitment, might really change the way you do business and make for a successful 2020.

So how about setting some New Year’s resolutions for your business instead?

I’ll delegate more

The New Year is a good time to review your workload and hand over some tasks. Although delegation is one of the hardest challenges for people managers, many find that once they begin to let go, it comes more easily. To get started, keep a record of everything you do during the work day. Which of these tasks could – with a little trust and training – be handled by someone else? Remember though, delegating is a process.

I’ll be greener

2019 showed the planet getting serious about climate change. It’s now the norm for print buyers to demand the most environmentally friendly products and services, and to look for Chain of Custody FSC or PEFC accreditations. Minimising waste and energy consumption is also generally a money saver in the long run. So, what can you do? Start by contacting BPIF Specialist Services, which can review your current practices and help you go greener, without disrupting your daily work.

I’ll do more promotion

Day-to-day operations often overtake the pursuit of new business. But ensuring existing customers pick up the phone, and that new customers will come on board, is worth investing time in. Do you have a list of email addresses you can use to circulate new promotions, special offers and news? If not, it’s time to build one. Do you have social media up and running? If not, it’s easy to set up and maintain a simple Facebook page, enabling you to start conversations with customers.

I’ll get the website sorted

It’s all too easy to write, design and publish a website, then leave it to stagnate for months or even years. If your website is looking old and tired, it’ll make your business look old and tired too. A website is the modern equivalent of a shop window, so it’s important that it’s stylish, up-to-date and informative. Does it show off your current products and services? Does it promote your social media platforms? Is it easy to use from a mobile phone? And can Google find it?

I’ll network more

Socialising with your peers is another good business practice. Yet networking can not only help build new relationships, it can also inspire, educate, inform and keep you up-to-date. Make time for networking events in 2020 – check the BPIF’s event page for member get-togethers, not least Members’ Day on 14th June.

Public Notice:

  • Customer expectations have changed
  • The industry needs more promotion
  • Make new habits stick 

To find out more about the issues discussed in this article please contact the relevant organisation via their website: www.bapc.co.uk, www.ipia.org.uk, www.britishprint.com
Your text here...

Print printer-friendly version Printable version Send to a friend Contact us

No comments found!  

Sign in:


or create your very own Print Monthly account  to join in with the conversation.

Top Right advert image
Top Right advert image

Poll Vote

Has the pandemic affected you?

Top Right advert image