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John Foley Jr.

Smart Marketing Insights

By John Foley Jr.

About John

John Foley Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team help printers get on a strong path to marketing success. Their approach includes software solutions, consulting, Website development, marketing audits, and strategic marketing plans. interlinkONE’s software solutions for the print industry include their marketing automation platform, MAX, and ilinkONE V8. Learn more about MAX: Marketing Automation. Executed. by visiting, John at, and his companies at and

What Printers Need to Grow and Transform Their Business

We’ve all heard the buzz around the print industry’s fading star. The age of new media has taken over every facet of life from one side of the map to the other, and the question remains, what are traditional media industries doing to stay relevant? Just like that 1979 hit song, "Video Killed the Radio Star," many printers are humming to the tune of "Digital Killed the Printing Press." The reality is many don’t realize they can use the changing times to not only grow and transform, but thrive within the print industry.

The answer to the nagging question about what printers need to do to grow their business lies within two simple words: provide solutions. That’s right! In order to grow your printing business in the age of digital marketing, you must first focus on the services that you already offer customers. From your original services, revolve marketing your business around the solutions those services provide, then you are well on your way to becoming a marketing service provider.

How to Grow
Facing the facts, if you want to survive and thrive as a printer, becoming a “marketing service provider” has proven the most effective way to grow a print business over the past decade. Many providers find it effective to focus on the customer end of the services they already provide, and grow from there. Usually these services such as, display graphics, direct mailing, and convention printing, are ones that already stand out to new and existing customers. They are unique to each print business based off of location, experience, and so on. It is important to focus on advertising and selling the experience these services give not only to your customers, but to their customers as well.

Business Transformation
Printers transforming their business is nothing new, yet it can seem like an impossible task if you don’t know where to begin. In my book, "Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry," I cover just that:

“Clearly, if you have heavy investments in printing equipment…you don’t want to abandon your heritage in transition to becoming a marketing service provider. Rather, you want to build on the knowledge and expertise you already have about your customers and their communications needs in order to deliver a broader portfolio of products and services that will make you a trusted partner and them a loyal customer.”

By building on the services you already offer as a printer—and let me say it again, focusing on the solutions your services provide—you are already much closer than you think to the key behind transforming your business from an average, run-of-the-mill printer, to a full-blown marketing service provider.

Here’s a Hint
If you’re still stuck on what kind of solutions your customers are looking for, consider multi-channel. Adding multi-channel offerings to the marketing solutions of any service provider is critical in this age of information accessibility. Focus on how your print products can carry, if not support, a variety of messages throughout multiple channels. The traditional industries of communications are changing daily and an endless introduction of new technologies have made the job of marketing more complex than ever. If you’re not sure what multi-channel marketing entails, stay tuned for my next post.

Keep in Mind
The important thing to keep in mind as a printer transforming into a marketing service provider, is that many of the tools and offerings you need to make the transformation are already in your arsenal. Think of print as your roots—where you came from, and all the ways your printed materials can tie into other channels, as the future—where your business is going. Change is never easy, but as far as business is concerned, it is necessary. Consider print and the services you have always provided as the nourishment your business needs to transform successfully in this brave new world of communications.

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