Marketing Services - the Myth, the Reality and the Truth
• Still others will make the change gradually, as it suits their timetable and as they learn from the early adopters and innovators (those with arrows in their back). Call these the “hump in the bell curve.”
So what about the rest? We’ll call them the late adopters or laggards, and that may be correct in many cases. Some of them may get a bigger piece of a smaller pie by acquiring other printers or simply selling and marketing more effectively. Others may just settle for a smaller slice of a smaller pie and not really change at all. There are still a few “craftsmen” making a living running letterpresses for the trade.
The truth is, while making the transition to becoming a marketing service provider (and doing it quickly) may be the best way for many—even most—it is not true for all.
Some simply don’t have the desire or aren’t ready to play in this sandbox. Industry pundits and, yes, franchises like the one I am a part of, can be guilty of holding out what we assess to be the most ideal approach as an imperative or the only path forward. This can be for a good purpose. Often to sell an idea, you have to oversell it.
But in the process, a lot of inaccurate impressions can be formed; the biggest one being that if you don’t do this right away, you will face a quick and certain death. A good metaphor here is that as an industry, we don’t have a blockage in our arteries requiring emergency open-heart surgery. Rather, we all have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and if we don’t start eating right and exercising, we may not live the long healthy life that we could otherwise.
There are many well-run, well-positioned, profitable printing companies that will be successful for a long time without jumping on the marketing services bandwagon. How long can they do this successfully? There is no one answer to this without understanding the particular company and the markets they serve.
Carl and his wife, Judy, owned and operated their own successful Allegra franchise for nearly 20 years before selling the $2.3 million operation in 2003. He is a PrintImage International/NAQP Honorary Lifetime Member and was inducted into NAPL’s prestigious Soderstrom Society in 2010 in recognition of his contribution to the industry.