Where’s the Common Sense in Marketing Services Debate?
Margie Dana recently wrote an interesting Printing Impressions blog titled, “Printers…a.k.a. Marketing Services Providers, Beware.” It outlined the conflicts that can arise among printers, marketing agencies and print buyers when it comes to marketing services. I was amazed to read a comment about a printer that made the transition, only to then alienate important agency customers and lose that business.
I have to ask the question, Where is the common sense of upper management or the owner when considering entering the marketing services arena? Why would you go after this type of work in direct competition with agencies if they are a critical part of your business? Not a very good strategic plan. It should be no surprise that marketing agencies and even corporate print buyers would not look favorably on printers becoming something other than “just printers.”
In general, buyers view print as a commodity and want to drive the price down as low as possible for their clients. If a printer has cultivated a substantial amount of business with agencies, it would be well advised to stay away from that market unless the selling is done transparently and not in conflict with its agency clients.
The same may be true of corporate print buyers. To go around them and directly to the corporate marketing department would be risky at best.
You’re better off looking for ways to work with, rather than against, an agency client. An inroad with existing agency clients or prospects is to fill gaps in their “marketing technology solutions” portfolios.
A printer entering into marketing services can assume the role of “delivery technology specialist” and supplement the strategic and creative services of the agency with Web-to-print and online document management solutions or e-mail distribution services. This enables the use of variable and relevant data to improve the performance of the recommendations agencies make to their clients. Many agencies don’t choose to have these technical resources on staff, but need to offer those services.