Three Reasons to Become a Marketing Service Provider

Note from Bill: This week I step aside and offer my blog space to a freshly graduated Clemson University student named Hannah Sellers. It’s always good to get a fresh look at our industry and Hannah’s insight is worth the read. I’ll be back next week.

I am a student at Clemson University studying Graphic Communications and have had the opportunity to talk with some of the industry’s leaders in innovation, including the concept of Marketing Service Provider. What separates them from failing competitors, they told me, is the ability to hop on board with the changes coming in the industry. It would appear that the longer some people are in the industry (or really any industry), the more likely it is that they lose their hunger for success. The bottom line is this: It takes an innovative mind to accept this new form of a print company. From my perspective, then, I offer the following three reasons for becoming a Marketing Service Provider:

1. Print (to many) has become a commodity

  • Most printing companies today have comparable abilities to make things of good quality and can provide fast delivery.
  • Decision factor: Who can do it the cheapest?
  • Companies can only lower costs so much, before they aren’t making a profit. So what, then, makes someone choose you over someone else?

2. Value-added Services—Differentiate Oneself from Competitors

  • Invest in new technology. Bringing in new equipment can be a big change and very costly for a company, and I’ve noticed many companies aren’t willing to do it. Though many companies that are investing in new technology are quickly seeing a return on their investment and now have an advantage over companies without it.
  • Don’t be scared of change. Never allowing ourselves to become too comfortable in one area is the key.
  • Don’t just embrace change, MAKE change. Be the first to try new ideas.
  • Keeping a curious and inventive mindset is essential. We have to be continually finding new sales avenues and new services to offer.

3. Sell Solutions—Know Your Clients’ Overall Goal

  • Make the client’s success your main focus. When they are successful you are successful. Focus on the ROI of the product or service you are providing. Be a part of their company’s growth by tracking results and then teaching clients how to interpret it.
  • You will develop a loyal client relationship when they feel a direct connection between you and their success.

In talking to some of my peers, I realized the advantage we have coming into the industry at this time. Since we are not blinded by the old ways of doing things, we can see different avenues and opportunities that those not willing to change cannot.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • Mary Beth Smith

    Good job, Hannah – Clemson should be proud!!

    :) mbs

  • Robert W. Bell

    Great insight Hannah, I spoke to a very large Direct Mail executive that mails millions of postcards a month and they are not offering tracking and reporting or the QR Code tracking to their customers. I was surprised to hear they have no intention either, I think we will see them fade away.

  • Sally Kirby

    I first heard the term Market Services Provider about 5 years ago–I am still trying to become a full fledged MSP. I know print inside & out; social media–not so much; website development–I understand the software is out there to make it super easy. Putting it all together in one easy turnkey solution–that is the magical recipe–check back in 2015–I may have it mastered.

    Peace & Print

  • Brian Badillo, MBA


    It’s great to see youth "get it". Your insights are right on and the industry will continue to need more thought leaders like you for continued growth. If you haven’t already, check out the CGX Leadership Development Program ( We need more minds like yours in our program. If you’re interested in coming to Dallas and be part of a growing, different thinking organization, I would personally love to visit with you!

  • Mike Thomas


    Congratulations you have come the conclusions that many veterans in our industry can’t seem to grasp. Our industry is not dying it is changing. Don’t settle for a provider that is not forward thinking. The mindset and the company culture the ownership is willing to allow makes all the difference. However, all the tools in the world will not help if you do not embrace and adapt to what the client needs. It’s up to you to translate those needs.

    Good luck in your search!