Market Focus: Office Supplies Buyers
Ah, yes. We’ve all been there. That moment of waiting for something important to emerge from the printer, only to find a mottled mess of ink on the last piece of paper. Where do you head to replace your supplies? OK, maybe a supply room. But who stocks that supply room? Who orders the paper clips and sticky notes that make it possible to accomplish your everyday tasks? Office supplies buyers, of course!
Those in charge of business supplies purchase everything their companies need to continue running smoothly. According to Michele Volpe, vice president of sales and marketing at Media Source Solutions, which manages several office supplies buyer files, “Buyers of business supplies are buying everything from phone systems to White-Out.” Kristin Micalizio, vice president of direct sales at Office Depot, a multichannel marketer of office products, agrees, saying her business customers buy more than just the usual office fare of pens and bulk paper. They also dip into technology, furniture, storage as well as cleaning and breakroom supplies, to name a few.
Entry Level Graduates?
So, who are business supplies buyers? In truth, they could be anyone from a designated buyer to an administrative assistant for whom buying supplies is merely a function of the position. “From the list management perspective, the business-to-business files don’t capture as much demographic information as their consumer counterparts. It would be great to know that Manager A always buys business cards in September,” says Volpe. “[But] the fields in B-to-B files are not typically populated this way,” she continues, which can make it tough to pin them down.
And while Kim McNeill, list management assistant at Walter Karl, which manages Office Depot’s lists, says prospects may be selected by title on office supplies buyers files, Micalizio notes that Office Depot prefers to prospect using contact names at businesses that buy via direct mail. “We don’t make prospecting selections by job title,” she states.