Becoming a Strong Link in Chain of Communications
I have been following Margie Dana’s blog regarding printers and their conversion to marketing services providers. Over the past six months, NAK and our partner firm, Partner Providers Inc., have conducted two independent Delphi surveys that relate to this issue.
The first research effort conducted by NAK was to a national base of 10,000 creative people, designers and art directors all of whom purchase print and, yes, print buyers. The second was a more targeted regional study conducted by Partner Providers that targeted 3,500 locally based titles, all of which purchase or influence the purchase of print buying. Both produced some very interesting results.
First, a little more about NAK. We have assisted over 12 printers convert from a print-based model to an expanded service model, often described as a marketing services provider—we prefer the term “chain of communications providers.”
Briefly, what both studies revealed was that printers are printers and that is a fact that should not be hidden. But what the research also revealed was that printers need to become an extension of the communication process, not a standalone element, independent from the process of communication as they are currently viewed.
Offering communications services as well as some interrelated marketing services is part of this new model. They must become communications partners that offer multi levels of support, which include such “marketing solutions” as SMS, 2D barcodes, personalized marketing services and other expanded marketing and communications tools, in addition to the much discussed and needed digital footprint. They msut be able to link offline media with online media, or at least support that effort.
Why? Because the markets demand it. For example, the regional survey we created indicated that offering expanded services—ones that link the creative print and distribution process—are requested and needed by print buyers and marketers. The results speak for themselves; expect lower costs due to a convergence of services offerings, faster turnaround and fewer distribution nightmares. As well as expanded communications offerings.