Printers, a.k.a Marketing Services Providers, Beware
It used to be that the topic of print brokers vs. printers generated the most heated discussion in an audience of print buyers.
Hold onto your loupes; I think I’ve found the newest debate trigger for this crowd: “Printers as MSPs (Marketing Services Providers).”
At our PBI Midwest Conference in Chicago on May 19, I led an hour-long brainstorming session. Turns out, one hour wasn’t nearly enough time to cover my slides—or the additional issues generated in the room filled with print buyers and service providers. (Note to self: extend this session by at least another hour next time.)
Most of the time, audience comments in these sessions don’t surprise me. But at this time, the reaction to printers as MSPs generated a point of view I’d not thought of before. In the interest of making printers aware of a sentiment among design and other creative agencies, I want to share what I learned.
Printers as MSPs mostly got a thumbs down from this audience, comprised of about 70 senior-level print buyers, production managers, creatives and marcom specialists. A few buyers at agencies spoke up to share that they view such printers as competitors—and, therefore, won’t deal with them. Others said that they prefer “printers as printers.”
In my May 23 “Print Tip” column, I listed a few highlights from the show’s sessions, including this particular point from a reader:
“I missed the conference, but can imagine why this was a hot topic. Two printers.. that we used to work with are not only permanently off our bid list, but have been discussed with others at creative club meetings. Both tried to reinvent themselves as ‘full service’ printers, offering ‘design’ work. They both made the mistake of approaching clients of ours (knowing full well they were our clients), and in one case actually won business that we also were bidding on.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com