Where’s the Common Sense in Marketing Services Debate?
It’s a big world out there, and management must take a common sense and strategic approach if they want to enter the marketing services arena. In my world, we focus on small businesses and do not often run into agencies or print buyers. Agencies have long abandoned small businesses that rarely have the budgets to pay at the level agencies require, so generally there is no conflict.
Moreover, we are finding success developing new customers with high value-added services. The pros tell us that for every $1 spent on print there is $5 spent getting it ready for print. Equally important is that we can get some of the dollars for work that never goes the print route, but instead goes to other forms of media.
When targeting larger corporate clients, one would be wise to have a strategic understanding of the client’s organizational structure with regard to how it buys print vs. marketing services. Many times, there is a love-hate relationship between marketing departments and corporate buying departments. Understanding how this works at a customer or prospect may very well dictate if one should go “direct” to a marketing department vs. working through the buyer.
It is equally important is to understand that companies that are large enough to have marketing departments, and perhaps even a CMO, may require a different approach than smaller companies. You could end up in the same conflict with marketing professionals as you would with agencies or print buyers.
Finally, the “beware” warning that agencies and print buyers do not look favorably (to put it mildly) upon printers becoming marketing services providers does not necessarily mean it’s a bad plan to enter this market. It simply means it should be done strategically and with a big dose of common sense.
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.