Acquiring a marketing firm can be a strategic investment for printing company owners looking to broaden and deepen relationships with existing customers. Additional services can spur new business — and under the right circumstances, the marketing firm’s customer base can be a valuable asset, both in the short and long terms.
That said, there are as many post-merger war stories as success stories. More than a few printing company owners will tell you that a year after the acquisition, all they had to show for their investment were half a dozen used PCs and a handful of customers who chose not to follow the talent, wherever it went.
So what should a printing company owner looking to acquire a marketing company look for? 5 suggestions to set you on the right path:
- Identify a marketing firm whose services are a good fit for your existing customer base.
- Negotiate at least a two-year employment contract with the marketing firm’s owner(s), and be sure to structure a substantial portion of their compensation in earn-outs.
- Unless a marketing company owns its own real estate or runs a substantial fulfillment operation (in which case it may have its own servers and proprietary platforms), intangible assets are the only assets likely to have any serious value.
- Make sure that at least some of your sales force is willing and able to sell marketing services as well as printing.
- Work with professionals you trust, both to help you identify potential acquisitions, and to carry them out.
Acquiring a marketing company can be an excellent growth strategy for printing company owners. Just do your homework — carefully — for your best chance of minimizing the risks and maximizing the rewards.