An interview with Juriaan van Beelen, CCO at Print.com
We sit down with Juriaan van Beelen, the Chief Co-Creation Officer at Print.com. Print.com is the fastest growing web-to-print company in Europe. We talk about why he joined Print.com and what it means to be a Chief Co-Creation Officer!
How did you end up at Print.com?
Before Print.com I was an independant consultant helping other B2B companies define their Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy. I've always been fascinated by the early stages of a company and at Print.com I had the opportunity to bring my domain expertise at a stage where a lot of the infrastructure had not been built out yet. On top of that, Marco (the Founder and CEO of Print.com) had already built a company in the B2B printing space before so his track record convinced me that we could build something really big this time around.
As the Chief Co-Creation Officer, what are you responsible for?
At Print.com we truly believe that our clients are our partners, in the sense that they tell us the problems they experience and then its our job to find elegant solutions for that. As the Chief Co-Creation Officer I lead a team that works closely with our largest clients to discover their pain points and ensure our products and services deliver the most amount of value for them. This is what we call co-creation :) By listening to our clients on a daily basis we're able to develop technology solutions that allow us to compete in a very competitive space.
Which acquisition channels have proven to be most effective for your organization?
To be honest we've been growing organically through word of mouth for the first few years and only recently started to activate other channels. Once we get our foot in the door of one department in a larger organisation we're able to branch out internally from there. Creative cold email campaigns with on-brand copy have proven to be effective to get the attention of some key decision makers.
How do you manage the ever rising costs of acquiring new clients?
Like all B2B service businesses you're competing for the attention of decision makers and with limited effective channels you're always looking for creative ways to engage them. Having said that, we're more focussed on continuously increasing the value that we deliver to our clients so that our Lifetime Value (LTV). This reduces churn and also helps justify a higher cost of acquisition (CAC).
If you had to summarise the high-level LeadGen strategy of Print.com, what would it be?
So polite cold email has been effective for us in bringing on larger accounts, these naturally have longer sales cycles and for those it makes sense to be thoughtful when it comes to outreach. Since we create physical products there are a few referral programs we run that perform very well.
Can you elaborate on the offline referal programs?
I won't be able to disclose the details, but what I can say is that the combination of online and offline marketing can be very powerful when combined in the right order for the right target audience.
What made you decide to work with ColdFire?
We were already experimenting some cold outbound initiatives but quickly realised it demanded a lot more energy from our marketing team. The nuances of building and running an effective cold email funnel a great. You need to come up with a strategy, create a target audience list, segment that list, deal with the technical side of shield domains, write very specific email copy for each segment and then monitor each campaign daily in order to make changes effectively. Its a steep learning curve and we decided our time was better spent on other marketing initiatives.
What would you recommend to people earlier in their careers who might want to work in Strategy or as a Co-Creation Officer in the future?
Sometimes I hear younger people (just out of university) say "I want to work in Strategy", but the reality is that when you're not experienced yet you don't have much to offer yet in a strategic role. And the reason is that Strategy is the ability to come up with a high-level plan for where the business should go based on a long list of insights and drivers. So without having worked in any of the teams that will implement the strategy, you can't really see the big picture. So I'd highly recommend to go work in an operational team first, Strategy will follow soon!