Being from Flint, Mich., where the auto industry dried up and the economic slowdown hit particularly hard, we are always looking for ways to keep our presses busy and find other ways to generate ongoing revenue from print. Some of the ways in which we have accomplished this over the years has been by publishing magazines for chambers and associations and adding digital services to complement our print offerings. As a result, we’ve forged some great new business relationships, established some lasting friendships, and learned many lessons about the art of managing printing and с publishing partnerships.
Here are three of those lessons:
#1 Don’t burn bridges.
I would love to say that we were great at everything we offer from the very beginning, but each new service we added took time to fine tune. One of the first magazines we published ended up walking at the end of their contract, but the split was amicable, and we tried very hard to stay on good terms. When the association went with another publisher, they realized that the mistakes we’d made were minor, and while they were gone, we learned to get better at our jobs. They came back to us after a short period, and I’m proud to say we are still publishing that magazine today.
#2 You must contribute ideas and value.
We’ve helped clients that have suffered through some pretty trying times. Throughout those highs and lows, we’ve always tried to maintain a consultative relationship and offer creative solutions to help their direct marketing projects succeed no matter what’s going on in the industry. Sometimes this has involved helping to find creative sponsorship opportunities or adding digital services to keep ahead of trends. Regardless, we are always trying to generate new ideas that end up being advantageous to both parties.
#3 There is no one-size-fits all solution.
No two customers’ needs are the same. Their challenges, issues, and goals are different. Each one has to be dealt with individually. Asking the right questions and establishing relationships with each customer to find ways to meet their needs and solve their problems is a must.
When you’ve been in business as long as we have, you don’t take anything for granted. Customers are not a dime a dozen. They are hard to get, and they are somebody else’s prospects.