Mailing & Fulfillment — Five Steps to Become an MSP
3) Add Fulfillment Services. Most printers are already completing fulfillment projects, i.e., assembling kits and shipping to multiple locations. However, the real goal of the fulfillment organization is to establish fulfillment programs with clients. These programs require the management of inventory for one or more years and the purchase of a fulfillment operating system.
One of the traps of this adoption sequence is that many printers think Web-to-print software is capable of managing a fulfillment program. We have not reviewed one such package to date with a warehouse management system capable of managing inventory for the long-term. Adding fulfillment programs also formally introduces the need to understand establishment selling and the differences of a service business model. Mastering this function will provide the organization with the necessary sales and marketing skills to move forward with additional services.
4) Add Related Marketing Services. Many printers have already entered into the modern marketing era and are offering e-mail blasts, PURLs and associated landing pages. These services will continue to be adopted by marketing departments to improve their prospecting skills and to provide valuable performance feedback metrics. They usually only mean the purchase of new software and will have the added benefit of requiring the printer to become proficient in database management, hygiene and utilization.
Although we have been adding data components as we progressed through the steps, it is at this juncture that a printer will really turn the corner from a production-centric to an information-centric company.
5) Add Creative Services. This is a difficult step for many printers because they have built their businesses on relationships with creative and advertising agencies. However, we have found that very few agencies see the direct marketing business and the need for great databases in the same manner required to totally assist clients. We, therefore, recommend that a printer approach this market from a direct marketing creative standpoint. It may be necessary to partner with existing clients, but the delivery system, expertise and account coordination need to reside in the printer’s organization.