Where printing was seen as a poor relation a few years ago, recently it has become reenergized as a primary means for communicating with customers. With that in mind here are the five key points you should consider when looking for a prospective partner.

1. Understanding: If you are trusting vital parts of your marketing strategy to an external partner then you need to have confidence in their ability to deliver. Understanding your expectations and objectives is essential. The need for understanding works both ways however and you need to be clear about what is achievable within your budget and time frame. This is the first step to building a relationship based on mutual trust.

2. Problem Solving: Simply put you need a provider that can tackle whatever is thrown at them. Co-ordinating print, design and mailing to meet your schedule should be a given, but the measure of a print partner is how they respond to problems. Campaigns can be subject to last-minute changes in design, content, and timing, and the ability to react to those will tell you a lot about the overall capability of a provider. Of course, doing your best as the client to give clear instructions from the outset is the key to a successful campaign. Communicating early and often usually prevents problems occurring in the first place.

3. Full-Service offering: While there are still a few prints only specialists, these are a declining band. Being able to offer a complete spectrum of design, print and distribution options means that your provider will be able to support your marketing effort more successfully. You may not need a graphic design function from them, but being able to speak the same language and act as a back up to your own services gives you flexibility in responding to the requirements of your schedule and customers.

4. Where are they?: If the provider has a limited presence or capability within your target market or region, they may not be able to efficiently to produce and distribute all your materials. This may result in them subcontracting part of your work which can create inconsistencies within a campaign. Having a distribution model that covers your geographic requirements is vital.

5. Big enough to cope: And small enough to care. This may be truism in business but in dealing with your print and related requirements a provider needs to be able to call on the resources needed to fulfill the expectations of their customers without becoming so remote that they lose track of the distribution and mailing that may be happening in a specific area of a city rather than a blanket set of postcodes. If you are carrying out a leaflet drop in Bristol, for instance, it pays to know where Stoke Bishop and Whitchurch are.

At The Design Print Distribution Group, we work with a range of clients from marketing agencies to major sports organizations and local businesses. We are always happy to discuss your requirements and get to know your business. Get in touch to discuss your specific requirements.