I HAVE written quite often in this space about the role of “product” in the overall marketing strategy for any company; that is, the physical product or service offered to the customer. There are many exciting new products and services that printers are offering to their customers these days that go beyond print to address a broader swath of the business objectives their customers are trying to achieve.
This includes multi-channel communications—incorporating e-mail, PDF distribution, Web, personalized URLs/Web microsites and other communications alternatives along with a print campaign; variable data solutions; transpromotional communications or the use of what is being called “onserts” in place of inserts to communicate promotional offers with transactional documents such as statements and notifications; and Web-to-print services that make it easier for customers to order (and reorder) printed and non-printed materials.
Other services like mailing and warehouse/fulfillment services are also being offered by many printers. And industry leaders back this up with a good infrastructure, including print MIS for access to real-time business data that makes smart and timely decision-making easier.
Value-Added Grows Profit
These so-called value-added or ancillary services are a viable option for growing revenue and profits. But, sometimes, sifting through the options and trying to figure out how to afford the required investments—or even determining what investments to make—can be confusing and even a bit intimidating, especially for smaller, resource-constrained firms. But the sifting must be done and, ultimately, investments must be made to ensure a viable firm moving into the future.
I recently attended the 2008 On Demand Conference & Expo in Boston, and I saw a theme emerging that can go a long way toward making these decisions easier.
While many suppliers to the industry have focused on larger firms as they develop offerings and bring products to market, a growing number of those suppliers now seem to be scaling down solutions to meet the needs of smaller shops.