Pro Tip

How to Choose the Best Printer for Your Marketing Needs

When your omnichannel marketing campaign include a print component, it’s crucial that you select the appropriate printing partner who can bring your marketing creative to life. According to a survey conducted by FedEx, 85 percent of consumers feel that the quality of print materials indicate the quality of the services and products being marketed — which means you have to be able to produce high-quality printed pieces if you’re including them in your campaign. This doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge, but there are definitely things to look out for and pitfalls to avoid while you're searching for a printer to handle your print marketing material needs.

The Advantages of Digital Printing

Many marketers opt for digital printing instead of offset printing for the print materials used in their marketing campaigns due to the following advantages:

  • Fast turnaround times. Depending on the size and complexity of the job to be done, digitally printed materials can take as little as half the time to print and ship.
  • Flexible design choices. Many print runs are for a standard design that's the same from one item to the next, but some marketers opt for personalization in their campaigns with the use of variable data. Digital printing is arguably the best way to tackle this challenge, due to the fact that the digital files can easily be changed from one page to the next, allowing for variable text and images.
  • High scalability. Digital materials can generally be scaled up or down, flipped, altered, color-corrected, and modified in scores of ways to achieve exactly the effect you want. The same basic design can also be used for small runs of 100 pamphlets, 1,000 print inserts, 10,000 packaging labels, mass mailings, and so on. Unlike other methods of printing, digital files usually only need a little alteration to fit new needs, letting you use the same template repeatedly.

85 percent of consumers feel that the quality of print materials indicate the quality of the services and products being marketed.

quality print

Printer Selection: What to Look For

Choosing the right printer for your print materials is one of the most important steps to ensure a successful launch of your campaign. There are several factors to consider before you decide to go with one vendor over another, though how important each is to you depends on the details of your specific marketing campaign, as well as your deadlines.

  • Customer service. Customer service is arguably one of the most important things to consider when selecting a printer partner. No matter how much time you've put into a design, it's almost inevitable there will be some issue that needs to be resolved, usually on a tight schedule. Choosing a printer with great customer service and an obliging attitude toward revisions can make the difference between smooth sailing and irritating delays in your digital printing job.
  • Personalization potential. Ask the printer about their personalization capabilities, as well as the technology they use, since different digital printers can produce varying results, depending on the medium and size of the run you're asking for.
  • Additional services offered. The printer you choose should offer more than just printing. Many printers edge toward full-service for many of their business clients. Things to ask about include binding and laminating work, marketing help and segmented lists to help you reach your audience with a more targeted approach than you could alone.
customer service illustration

Customer service is arguably one of the most important things to consider when selecting a printer partner.

Knowing What You Need, and How Your Printer Can Help

Of course, no matter how good your printer is, there's only so much that can be done unless you're prepared in advance. Before you reach out to a printing company, it's extremely helpful for you to know what your needs are and how you want your materials to look. You don't always have to have a finished product when you first reach out to a printer — helping you with your design is their expertise, after all — but the closer you are to a finalized layout, the better things usually go. There are several aspects to your print marketing materials you should, ideally, have settled in advance:

  • Design. It's okay if you don't have a finished design on the day you first contact a printer, but you should be close. If your images and layout are still in progress, it's best to have a firm date by which you expect to be ready to send the files. Don't hesitate to ask the printer for advice if you aren't sure how an element will print. Your printer will be able to advise you about any design changes that might be necessary to ensure the piece prints well.
  • Medium. The medium you want to print on matters more than most people think it does. The process of digital printing works best on medium-gauge paper that isn't overly thick or thin, and that doesn't have a pronounced texture to it. That settled, you can ask the printer for a quote on inserts, direct mailers, pamphlets and other types of medium if you're not settled on one or the other. Often, your print vendor will have helpful ideas about what your design is good for and what sort of medium may not work for it.
  • Batch size. You may have settled on an ideal batch size long before contacting your printer, but how many pieces you want can change between approval and the print run itself. As a rule, print runs between 500 and 2,500 are ideal for most digital printing projects, because the setup costs are much lower per-unit at that level than other types of print.

Choosing the best printer for your marketing materials can take a time and effort, but the results are worth the work. Once you've settled on the details of the print run and you've found the right printer to work with, you can trust that your print materials will bring your marketing campaign to the next level.