Printers are always saying that they have to expand their services if they are going to survive. Many want to drop printing from their name and become marketing or advertising firms. They want to offer "value" to their customer with ideas on how to sell.
The only problem that most printers have is they know nothing about marketing. Yes, some offer some printing services such as direct mail, variable data and PURL services, but these are just tools marketers use in marketing services. Does a printer understand ROI? Can they plan and predict the results of a marketing plan and then measure it along the way? Do they understand the other media used in marketing campaigns? Can they do the research necessary to develop the strategy and select the tactics to use to complete a successful marketing plan?
It isn't just printers that are suffering from the economy turndown. Advertising agencies are also cutting staff as sales drop. You'll want to read a recent newspaper account at http://tinyurl.com/r2ahkh of how advertising and PR firms are going to survive. It may make a printer have second thoughts about jumping into a brand new market.
If a printer wants to go into marketing, he needs to prove he can do it by selling for his own company. Has the printer used the tools he has to promote his own business? Can the printer show measurable results of marketing campaigns that were done to increase sales? Can the printer explain the ROI he had for the campaign and the sales increases?
Most printers are craftsmen and not sales people. Most printing companies would benefit from the owner giving just an hour of dedicated time each day for sales activities. Most printers haven't even had a face-to-face meeting with their top clients to assess their printing needs in the past 12 months. A delivery isn't a sales call.
No matter how much "marketing" a printer does, it isn't going to drive business through the door. To succeed in today's economy, the printer is going to have to get toe-to-toe with the customer and ask for new business.
Once printers can handle the simple task of calling on a customer, expanding the benefits of their services, and asking for the order, the printer can delve into more sophisticated marketing efforts.
If you want to be a marketing company, prove it. Marketing yourself and become a successful, profitable printing company.
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