Follow the Marketers, not Your Peers

If you ask me, printers spend too much time with other printers. They need to get outside of the industry and go where the marketers are.

It seems to me that successful printing companies are expanding their services into additional marketing areas, such as on-demand messaging, integrated marketing efforts, real-time marketing, email marketing, and so on. Print is still a component of most marketing plans—sometimes it’s featured; sometimes it plays a supporting role.

Without appreciating all of the marketing technologies available to customers, printers can’t be in very good position to serve them. There are two fine professional associations that printers should become involved in: The Direct Marketing Assn. (DMA) and the American Marketing Assn. (AMA).

I happen to be a member of the local chapters of each group, and their programs are generally excellent avenues for learning what’s new and for identifying marketing trends. While I do see some printers in the audience at these marketing events, they are few and far between.

Check out the DMA’s website. It is “the world’s largest trade association dedicated to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing,” according to the site. DMA’s next annual conference is scheduled for Oct. 12-17 2013, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

DMA also has an Email Evolution Conference slated for next February in Miami Beach. Here are a few session topics; decide for yourself if they’re relevant to print companies or not:

  • Integration & Cross Channel Marketing,
  • Building a Content Machine,
  • Emails We Love, and
  • Segmentation Strategies Across Channels.

I wish I could go.

The AMA’s website currently does’t have information on a 2013 annual national conference, but there is a calendar showing tons of other smaller events of all kinds.

Printers already have strong customer relationships—this is a definite strength! As you move into 2013, build on those relationships. Sit down with key customers (even a group of them, that could be really effective) to learn where they’re headed in terms of marketing their companies’ products. Listen to them. Ask them questions about marketing channels. They’ll guide you.

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit or e-mail Margie at
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  • steve

    You are right Margie, often the best ideas come from sources completely outside of our traditional channels. Dan Kennedy calls the propensity to only look at the marketing inside "your" channel as Marketing Incest.

    Your message is timely
    Steve Counts