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The question “What industry should a print company be targeting?” is not just some simple answer. The majority of print service providers that we talk to will tell us that they target everybody that needs print. And while that is a valid answer it’s not very strategic. Don’t get us wrong, it definitely works and you can talk to anyone and everyone to grow sales, but it will come at a cost, an opportunity cost of compounding growth, meaning you’ll grow faster if you strategically focus your efforts.

Without rambling too much on the theory, let’s get into the details of who you should be targeting as a print company.


Print Customers & Print Buyers

If we’re being honest you really are able to work with anyone who needs something printed, but again if you’re being honest you know that’s not what you want. Again something we hear often from print companies is “I don’t want ABC type of orders” or “I’m really looking to sell more DEF products”. In those instances you are being more strategic in what it is you want to sell or not sell and using that information as an example can be used to start defining who you should target as a print business.

You can also look at it from another perspective which would be where the opportunity is. Who’s buying the most print? Who’s in need of the most print? Where is the market “less tapped”? These are all potential for determining who you should be going after as a company.

We’ll break down those two approaches to determining who you should target below.


Opportunity Based Targeting for Print Companies

One targeting approach that print companies can take is to go where the volume is, or where the money is. Certain industries do higher volume printing, certain companies do higher volume printing and other industries & companies have specialized print needs that they will pay a premium for. By turning your attention there it’s a guarantee that there is money to be made. But it also means there is going to be more competition. The competition being more companies trying to get a piece of the action and bigger companies with more capabilities.

A good example of opportunity targeting would be to go after the Print Impressions Top 100 Print buyers list they put out each year. Here is their 2024 list for reference https://piworld.tradepub.com/free/w_defa4903/?pc=w_prid38&ch=ADNB23


But as you’ll quickly note, they list the biggest of the big when it comes to companies that buy print. Companies like Pepsi Co, Disney and Amazon. For most print companies these companies are difficult to connect with in a business relationship.

But you don’t have to go that big and there are still a ton of companies just like them buying a lot of print.

You can also look at the markets and go after those sectors that are growing, which means they too will have more print needs. In any given year those industries can change, so go out and read business publications to find what industries are experiencing the most growth and go after those.


Business Objective & Capability Targeting for Print Businesses

Another optimal method of identifying the best target for your print company is to focus on what you want to be known for as a business, what you’ve shown to be good at or to where you have the biggest competitive differentiation.


Become a Niche Printer

For example you may want to be known as the “go to” print company for extreme sports brands. Maybe you just love extreme sports or you have personal experience in that industry. Regardless of the reason you can tailor your messaging and offering to resonate heavily with that industry and deliver more value by creating a product and service set that works best for them.

You can also look at all of the print work you’ve done in the past and if you have a large amount of work that you’ve completed in one or more industries that you can group together and showcase your experience in those industries this will allow you to more effectively target those industries and close new business in those sectors much easier.

Capabilities & Scale

Another way to target based on business objectives is to grow, focusing on your existing capabilities or specific capabilities that you can efficiently and easily scale. Maybe there is a process or service that you are extremely good at and if you did more of it, that would be more profitable than other services you can offer. Or maybe you have something you can do that is highly unique which many print service providers do not offer. This would differentiate you and create more opportunities for you within the business and in the market.


Regardless of the direction you choose to take, the fact is that the more strategic you are in your targeting the better and while we can’t tell you which way is going to be best for you, we can say without a doubt that you will be more profitable and have a higher close rate if you do focus your efforts on a specific target or promote specific differentiating factors to an audience who will then self segment and only those most interested will engage, quote and do business with you.

All marketing channels are great to do this including direct mail, another perfect channel to promote to specific targets is using digital marketing online in ads and on social media.