Many print companies have reinvented themselves over the course of the past decade, and one of the primary verticals that members of the industry have been targeting is the marketing services provider sector. Selling marketing solutions can be extremely lucrative for printers, given the high demand for materials. 

But transitioning from a traditional print setting to the world of MSPs can be tricky, and it is important that companies make strong, guided decisions. The following tips can offer insight into how to navigate the process. 

1. The print industry is ripe with opportunity for MSPs
Printing Hub contributor Matt Spitsen wrote that while the print industry has radically evolved since the onset of mass digitalization, there are still opportunities for success in the market – they just might come in new forms. Spitsen asserted that print companies will likely experience minimal success if they exclusively offer printing services. Rather, he said, they should seek to form strategic partnerships with clients and offer more than just a simple product. Partnering to tackle new projects and developing marketing goals with customers are new ways that printers are carving out a niche for themselves. 

Spitsen also cautioned that the MSP market is hardly wide-open for monopolization – there are actually a sizable number of competitors in the industry, and the successful companies will have to establish their value to stand out from the masses. Assisting in effective communication with the clients' customer bases is a way for organizations to become distinguishable. 

2. Brand loyalty is dying – diversification is a necessity
Justin Honaman of Teradata referenced a recent Deloitte study, which found that brand loyalty is becoming less common. Instead of limiting themselves to the products and services of trusted providers, Honaman said that, in a holdover from the recession, consumers are more often seeking out low prices and high value. 

Given the state of consumer-brand relations, the author argued that distributors will have to diversify their offerings and, as the Deloitte survey phrased it, participate in brand segmentation. The study recommended that by creating multiple brands within an organization, enterprises can expand their offerings to target multiple demographics and consumers of various income levels. MSPs can help develop new strategies for these component companies, helping the service providers separate their products to best appeal to a wide variety of consumers.

3. Integrated campaigns that reinforce the message are critical
One of the most important aspects of a successful marketing campaign is integration, Spitsen asserted. Just because MSPs have extensive print backgrounds, that does not mean they should exclusively use that medium in their marketing plans. Instead, Spitsen advised that multiple platforms of communication should serve to reinforce the same message. For example, brand recognition can be established by using a piece of print marketing to drive traffic on social media accounts or websites. When each of these media work in a complementary fashion, the organization can achieve high ROI rates – provided the content is actually pertinent, of course. 

However, Spitsen said this does not mean that a particular campaign cannot be print-oriented. MSPs can still find ways to incorporate a multimedia approach to an initiative that is focused around print-based content. 

4. Do not outsource data tracking and analysis
Honaman warned that tracking of data regarding consumers should remain in-house to best assure accuracy and specification. He argued that in a business world that revolves around the analysis of data, the quality and effectiveness of the technology a company uses are not matters that can be entrusted to a private agency for a nominal fee. Rather, this evaluation is an absolute necessity, providing insights into the sustainability of a given organization.