Print brokering has been part of the print industry for decades. However, in more recent times, it is making something of a comeback. GSM talks to Melbourne-based print broker, Simon Fitzgerald, to understand why>
GSM: What is ‘Print Brokering’—and how does it work?
Simon: In a nutshell, print brokering in any industry is a value-added service connecting customers with suppliers or products. A good example is insurance or mortgage brokering. The brokers in these sectors do not lend money (mortgages) or provide policies (insurance). Their job is to secure the right product, at the right price, for their clients. Specifically, within the print sector, this requires a certain amount of project management on the broker’s part. We are responsible for assisting our clients with producing high-quality jobs, efficiently and cost-effectively. To do this well requires a high level of expertise in different print methods, combined with a solid network of trusted suppliers covering various fields.
The team at Invicium comprises a wide range of experience and skill sets. We are a dynamic, purposely constructed team which allows us to connect with a diverse range of customers and best serve their needs. This means we can advise and assist from creative ideas through to print execution.
Our account management team consults with clients, on an ongoing basis, throughout the project to ensure they receive the best advice and service. That’s the purpose of using a print broker.
GSM: How is the role of print brokering changing?
Simon: The role of the ‘Print Broker’ has undoubtedly evolved—most significantly in the past five years. Where, once upon a time, print brokering essentially focussed on a single activity – to attain the best possible range of print-based services for the customer. However today, the expanded value proposition lends itself to more of a marketing services’ offering in today’s commercial landscape. We are seeing increased demand for warehousing and fulfilment, plus other non-traditional print needs, i.e., the scope of services has broadened considerably.
GSM: Why use a Print Broker?
Simon: We find many of our customers are increasingly required to do more with less, which subsequently means—a vertically aligned task such as print procurement is becoming a thing of the past for our customers. Increasingly, we are engaged to source and execute a myriad of marketing-orientated services and tasks—such as apparel, merchandise, signage & display.
GSM: What is the ‘cost’ of using a print broker?
Simon: Cost is a high priority for most customers. But, it is important to differentiate between outright cost—versus value. Many of our clients simply do not have the resources or expertise to do what we do. Similarly, many industry suppliers do not offer the required breadth of services that clients require—especially in a multi-faceted campaign. Identifying, solving and managing these gaps is how we add value.
GSM: What are the advantages of using a print broker?
Simon: The overarching advantage with a print broker is flexibility—sourcing as broadly as any project requires. Inevitably, this translates into cost advantages, saving time and reducing the strain on our client’s resources.
GSM: What sort of companies use a print broker?
Simon: ’Typical’ customers are as broad as the requirements themselves. However, most customers predominantly fall into the small-medium business (SMEs) category, mainly as these companies are typically under-resourced regarding marketing or procurement. At Invicium, we have approximately eight different industry verticals that make up our customer base at any given time.
GSM: What is your perspective of what is happening in the marketplace?
Simon: Similar to most of what our broader industry is experiencing, we are constantly (and willing) to be challenged to ensure we always deliver value to our customers, irrespective of the size and scale of the projects undertaken. This increases the need for a broad base of supply partners and an ongoing sourcing model that is tight—yet embraces the ever evolving world of print technologies.
Printing across all mediums
Historically, print brokers have worked predominantly alongside traditional print mediums, helping to produce projects such as these…
This collateral, brokered for the Melbourne Theatre Company, was used to launch their 2022 season.
But, increasingly, clients are developing integrated campaigns with more parts and greater diversity. As a result, brokers are dealing in a broader range of services, sourcing almost anything—such as these branded golf balls for Thirsty Camel and the tee shirts & lanyard set for Sane Australia.
Integrated campaigns often require multiple suppliers to cover all the various aspects—and it is here that the broker acts as a production manager, ensuring all the elements come together.
GSM would like to thank with Simon Fitzgerald, Managing Partner @Invicium (Melbourne) for contributing to GSM magazine