The New Identity Crisis | Printers Masquerading As Marketers
In today’s marketplace, many companies forgo enlisting a marketing agency due to the perception that they will spend a fortune. Instead, they approach printing companies because they view them as a more affordable alternative option. What they don’t realize is that printers merely disguise themselves as marketing solution providers—without the skills or know-how to produce results. To help you see the big picture, let’s get a clear understanding of what Marketing Agencies do… and why your printer isn’t one.
When you start an advertising campaign from scratch, many components have to work together for it to be creative, relevant, and successful. Marketers have perfected this strategy and can produce the most efficient results through their time-tested processes. Printing companies, on the other hand, historically have come into play where the creative process ends—often in the last stage of development. Nowadays, printers are reinventing themselves to be the quicker, cheaper marketing option; and I don’t blame them, as I was a print manager for many years. I know from experience that when a client walks in the door, you don’t want them to leave without getting their business. Therefore, I understand why they won’t turn down a customer and the opportunity to earn more money. And, realistically I understand why a business owner would opt for the more economical route. Nine times out of ten, the client leaves the printer feeling good because they have cut costs and, in their mind, they will be getting the same product. However, I can tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let’s be frank, printers are called printers for a reason. They specialize in print. Period. That’s not to say they aren’t capable of creating a decent flyer or a nice set of business cards; after all, that’s what they’ve been doing well for decades. But when it comes to the big picture, printers usually lack the experience and vision to create a holistic marketing strategy. Unless they have put together a very specialized team of in-house marketing pros, expect to get much less than what you bargained for. Before you approach a printing company to do your marketing, you should ask yourself some questions to save yourself time and money on an unsuccessful campaign.
1. “Will they understand my business?”
Marketing agencies do this well because they start with research. When you walk in their door, you should be sitting down with someone who knows as much, if not more, about your business than you do. Marketing Agencies perform a thoughtful analysis of your company to understand how to market your brand in the most efficient manner possible to reach the highest amount of your potential customers. Printers, on the other hand, are looking at if from “if I make it look pretty, they will love it” standpoint. While aesthetics are important, there’s a lot more that goes into a successful marketing campaign than that. When you work with a printing company that doesn’t understand your business’ overarching goals or how to target your market to achieve results, you’re only wasting precious time and money.
2. “Will they create unique and creative campaigns?”
Have you googled your industry lately? I’m sure if you do, you will see the same concept used again and again. Being generic is not only a way to get lost in the crowd, but it dictates how you are perceived. Are you just another business in your industry or do have something that sets you apart? When you enlist a skilled marketing agency, you can expect to get more than just same old, same old. Marketers understand they are not only creating an ad; they have to evoke an emotional response to attract the potential customer. They know that content is king and can assist you in developing quality content. Conversely, printers typically use the content you provide them without putting in any extra effort to enhance it. Marketers come up with unique and creative ideas to create a brand culture encompassing trust and loyalty. Printers, on the other hand, usually do not offer customization. Instead, they have an extensive array of clipart and templates you can choose from for a small price. This may sound like a simple, affordable solution, but how many other companies are walking around with the same logo or business card as you? Whether you want to be generic or unique is something to think about long and hard when deciding how to craft your business’ brand.
3. “Will they create a strategic plan with measurable results?”
Strategic planning is the most critical factor of a successful marketing campaign, yet it is often also the most neglected. A marketing team has a comprehensive approach to creating your marketing strategy by revealing potential opportunities and shortfalls, your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and by helping identify your target customers. By having a team that tailors creatively engineered and relevant campaigns, you allow your business to meet its target and expand its reach. Marketing Agencies also have tools that enable them to track the results of the campaign. These tools explicitly measure your ROI and can help advise if you should remain steadfast with your campaign or modify your approach in the future. Print agencies view campaigns from a printer’s mindset. They create the material that you ask for without putting much effort or thought into how or why it is relevant because that simply is not their specialty. They also have no solid way to measure the success of your campaign leaving you feeling flat and disappointed.
These questions are critical and relevant for any business—whether they choose a marketing agency, a printer, or decide to do it themselves. Just remember that if you, or the company you enlist to help you with your marketing efforts, do not thoroughly understand the fundamentals of marketing, your campaigns will most likely leave you, and your potential customers, wanting more.
On that note we will continue our Strategic Partnerships with our local printers and print companies as they offer and specialize in a service at a level we can not offer to our clients, yet our clients need and demand.
The New Identity Crisis | Printers Masquerading As Marketers