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Why Printer's Shouldn't Publicize Their Dazzling New Equipment List

This is probably striking you as counter-intuitive, and to be honest, writing it down feels about as counter-intuitive as you can get.

Think about it.

So you did your homework, you did your file testing, you traveled for the demo, visited other customers, bounced the idea off of a few of your key customers, and decided to move forward with a dazzling new piece of technology.

Congrats!! Now let’s tell the whole world you what you just bought and the work will magically come in, right?

Wrong.

Remember this, every time you tell your customer what machine you just bought, you have armed them with the ability to quickly and easily bid out to everyone else with the same machine and get the lowest price. The brutal lessons we have learned in CMYK print’s commoditization should teach us to always prioritize value atop all things. There is no need to continue repeating these same mistakes.

Value is what you should bring to the table when talking with a brand or agency, not price. Know-how is value and keeping the secret sauce a secret is what has made Coca-Cola and McDonald’s the brands they are today.

Don’t give away the secret sauce; wield it as a magnificent weapon to upsell and cross-sell your existing and new customer bases.


When you show your prospect a sample, don’t feel obligated to tell them how you did it. Don’t tell them how easy or cheap it was to make. Don’t tell them you didn’t have to make a die or a screen. Tell them it’s your special sauce, and explain why you think that their ROI would be justified because the impact it would have on their target customers.

Don’t Give Away the Secret Sauce

Here’s what some of the best printers do: Come up with your own “Brand” for your special sauce, and, very importantly, copyright it! It doesn’t matter what you call it, some of our customers call it Lux FX, some call it Color Up, others call it Tektured; the idea is that it is being branded as your own black label division..

For example, if you have JETvarnish and you use the “JETvarnish” Brand in your bids, everyone who has a JETvarnish can now bid on it. If you use, say, “Digital Embellishment” in your bid, anyone who has any of our competitor’s equipment can now also bid on it.

On top of it all, you are just building up free brand equity for all the vendors, which they appreciate, but at the end of the day, shouldn’t you be the one reaping the benefits of your sales and marketing efforts instead?

Remember, if you brand something as your own, copyright it, market it, and sell the heck out of it, and it ends up in a bid under your copyrighted brand, the bid goes to you.

So good luck and thanks for ready, now go out and brand yourselves against boring print!

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