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Where’s the Money? It’s in Marketing Strategy, Not Tactics

In a recent presentation about printing companies offering marketing services, I referenced a presentation I attended at the 2012 Podi AppForum of best practices in direct marketing. The presentation was made by Eclipse Cross Media because they won a Podi award for their campaign with ScottishPower. As a judge for Podi, I get to see all the submissions.

Early in the presentation, Hans Lith and Andy Bacon described their philosophy at Eclipse. They displayed two slides that showed at a high level the seven different steps in their direct mail marketing process:

  • establish the need
  • obtain the data
  • develop the proposition
  • decide on the format
  • design the piece
  • produce and send
  • monitor and analyze

As I sat there and focused on the seven steps, I thought about the typical evolution a printing company goes through as they master this process. In the transition from a print service provider to marketing service provider, the printer typically focuses on step six, which is print and send and sometimes they assist in step number two, which is getting the data.

Of all the steps in the process, these two are the most tactical, but have the least value to the customer. Companies that are most successful in this transition start by mastering the tactical services and then expand into designing the piece and offering other channels such as Purls, SMS text and e-mail.

Next on the list of new services would be to expand into step four, deciding on the format, which has a strategic component and can be tied to step seven, which is to monitor and analyze.

The Holy Grail, of course, is to offer more and more of these value-added services and move away from the tactical steps with less value to the strategic steps that have the most value.

The question is where are you in this value map? Are you stuck in the print and mail step or have you started growing into the higher value areas?

direct marketing campaign, marketing service provider, print service provider, profitability printed products, value added print services, value marketing strategy
Howie Fenton

About Howie Fenton

As an NAPL Senior Consultant, Howie works with commercial and in-plant print shops and industry manufacturers. Consulting directly with printing companies, Howie specializes in the areas of operations and digital production, with a focus on workflow, customer service, estimating and prepress performance and benchmarking, as well as budgeted hourly rates. Howie’s experience and expertise positions him to coach companies on their investment priorities such as web to print, pdf workflows, variable data printing and digital equipment. As a follow-up to that, Howie works with companies to streamline their operations and train their staff to sell the value of the digital technologies. As one of the leading in-plant printing experts, Howie performs in-plant audits and customized surveys that benchmark financial performance, analyze workflow issues, and measure productivity, customer satisfaction, and in-plant competitiveness. His evaluations help clients increase efficiency and reduce costs, and his services are used to benchmark financial and operational performance and to demonstrate or improve that performance. A frequent speaker at industry events, he has written five books and two books on digital printing and variable-data printing and is a regular contributor to several industry publications.

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