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It can be overwhelming when you feel like your print business is sitting in the shadows of the print industry giants.

These giants tend to focus exclusively on online-only sales that are direct to consumers. Often, they overlook things like knowing their clients on a first-name basis in favor of the almighty sale. These are also the same big-time players that can slash their prices so drastically that you can be left feeling like your print business will never be able to compete.

But it can.

In fact, there are things that only small(er) print businesses like yours can offer. And the big wigs in those giant companies? Most likely, they’re trying to figure out how to bring to the table the personal service-type things that only your print business can.

But first things first, it’s important to look at facing the giants through the right lens.

All About Perspective

While the internet has leveled the playing field as far as customer reach is concerned, there are some areas where the playing field remains unequal.

For example, a couple of years ago, an NPSOA Marketing Survey noted that one of those big-box printing companies spent 27% of their sales on marketing. In comparison, consider how much does your business spends on marketing.

The truth is, small-business-sized printing firms spend less than 1% of their sales dollars on marketing efforts. It goes without saying that a 26% increase in marketing dollars will make somewhat of a difference in the impact of their marketing. So, keep things in perspective.

If the print giants are spending all this money, how will you compete in a way that you can afford and that makes a difference?

It starts with your audience.

Set Your Sights on Your Target

What does an ideal print job and customer look like for your printing firm?

Is it the onesy-twosy orders that your big-box competitors are targeting, or is it business clients with consistent repeat ordering? To put it another way, is your business focused on B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer) clients?

If B2B is your bread and butter, focus the majority of your efforts there and don’t compare yourself to a B2C competitor.

A B2B focus is a vastly different animal than B2C, and it’s important to remember that. While B2C marketing is focused on quick clicks and individual sales, B2B is focused on creating and keeping connections and a more consultative, partnership approach.

A B2B Approach to Marketing

With a B2B focus, hone your marketing efforts on things that will make buying printing for their business easier.

For example, highlighting solutions in your sales and marketing, such as a Reorder Library to eliminate the unnecessary friction of reordering or a Private Label Website that allows print buyers to order printing from you through a private ordering portal that looks and feels just like their website.

Ultimately, your sales and marketing should focus on connection, relationship-building, and training your clients on how to best connect and order with you. This might mean connecting through a monthly direct mail postcard and then following it up with a phone call to demo ordering solutions that would benefit their business.

You Do You

Keep in mind that big-box printers keep their focus almost exclusively on B2C business.

Because of this, their approach and their marketing will be different than what you do to target your niche market and what you can offer your clients (and that’s a good thing).

So, where will your sales and marketing efforts be most effective? Set your sights on that target and fire away!

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