Print service providers (PSP) have been successful in their own right for years, but now many have come to realize the need to expand beyond the basic, traditional printing services. To better align with the realities of today’s market, PSPs need to focus on expanding and highlighting their value-added applications and services that generate increased ROI, sales force enablement, and customer loyalty.
Today, PSPs must deploy the use of multiple channels to get messages into the marketplace. It is no longer enough for PSPs to improve the way print is used and increase quantities and frequency in production. Rather, PSPs must alter the types of services and business strategies they offer companies to meet the broader range of existing and emerging needs. To shift from a PSP to a marketing service provider (MSP), companies must make core business changes to move from a printing-oriented business to a service-oriented business.
In the past, printing companies focused on ink or toner on paper and whether or not projects were completed in a timely fashion. In today's playing field, PSPs must offer a number of marketing services—from marketing asset management and automation to direct marketing campaigns that integrate email and the Web, database, and data mining services, Web-to-mail, and more—all of which embody the new business referred to as MSP. As an MSP, companies can use data to drive every aspect of the document, including content, design, and production, which is something they have direct access to. This integration of timely and relevant data is crucial for customers who are trying to stand apart from the competition, and with the growing statistical support of this strategy—including double-digit ROI and increased customer retention—these proven communications are in high demand.
One of the key ways for companies to access a broader range of existing and emerging needs is through education. PSPs must find ways to educate and alert decision makers to an end result, allowing them to move one step closer to transitioning to an MSP. One example is to hold executive briefings to showcase the true value of services. Ricoh (Booth 2600), for example, has held these briefings and has helped implement several solutions for customers hoping to deliver compelling content, drive customer loyalty and retention, and increase ROI.
Another example is to help provide executives with new ideas and information about how they can leverage equipment, software, and solutions to help optimize output. Sometimes this is easier said than done. However, this is not as simple as finding equipment that prints transactional documents the fastest. Rather, PSPs must advise customers on what marketing tools will make their documents more effective. This education can be a challenge sometimes. However, it is imperative that it happen at all levels, especially at the decision- making level. After all, companies have more options than ever before to get their messages out. This means that savvy PSPs, as mentioned above, must augment existing services and better accommodate customers’ needs while stimulating business growth.
Transitioning from PSP to MSP is imperative for any company looking to provide customers with major competitive differentiators to make them an even more valuable resource. Since more and more customers turn to alternative media in lieu of print, PSPs must embrace the time and process to make the move to integrated marketing solutions. This will put the traditional print operation on the path toward building a growing and highly successful business.