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Report says print buyers want more attention from the paper industry

Today’s corporate and agency print buyers are also specifiers of paper for their commercial print jobs. Learning more about their paper-sourcing practices and how they gather information to help them in this responsibility will help both the paper and the printing industries serve them more effectively.

According to a 2014 survey of print buyers across the country, released January 12, 2015 and supported by NPTA, most print buyers would like more help from the paper industry and desire more information about changes in the industry. In addition, they would welcome more educational information to help them in their roles as paper specifiers. The findings indicate that most buyers currently rely on their print partners for information about paper and the paper industry.

The 33-page report, based on the survey which involved nearly 200 professional print buyers across the country, is called “Print Buyers & the Paper Industry: Who They Rely on, How They Source Paper, and Where They Get Their Information.”

Data collected in this study reveal additional findings of interest to the industry. Some buyers report that they have difficulty specifying paper for digital print jobs, which is primarily due to the fact that different equipment has different paper requirements.

Other insights reveal that print buyers go to a wide variety of sources, both online and off, to gather paper information, and that they would welcome more events and resources stemming from the paper industry and addressing their specific needs.

“This report suggests a tremendous opportunity for the paper industry as well as commercial and printers to work more closely together in educating and informing professional print buyers,” notes Margie Dana, printing industry expert and one of the co-authors of the study along with industry consultant and researcher John Zarwan.

The study suggests that print buyers get their professional paper education in a catch-as-catch-can manner; they rely on many sources for information on paper industry changes, and emphatically want more information directly from the paper industry.

Dana adds, “Print buyers want more attention from the paper industry. They miss relationships they had with spec reps and are ready to embrace targeted educational efforts about commercial printing paper. It’s a challenge that, if met, will reap the paper industry major benefits. Since almost every print buyer specifies paper, there’s an enormous opportunity to serve them and influence their paper choices.”

This study was supported by NPTA, the National Paper Trade Association, that is committed to learning more about how the industry might better serve print buyers today. “This report clearly shows how paper selection decisions are made and who has influence in the process," concludes NPTA Executive Vice President Sean Samet.

Margie Dana is a printing industry expert and can be reached at: www. margiedana.com. John Zarwan has been in the graphic arts, printing, and digital media industry for 30 years and is internationally recognized for his knowledge and insight on trends in the industry. He can be reached at: www.johnzarwan.com. The survey report is available for purchase at http://margiedana.com/store/reports/.

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