Written by Howie Fenton
Hi, my name is Howie Fenton and I am a guest blogger for Xerox. As you may know, I am not “on staff” at Xerox. I am a consultant with NAPL specializing in workflow and digital printing. For me, blogging is more of a hobby than a job but like many people, I am just as passionate about my hobby as I am my job.
I find engaging in conversations through blogs fun and somewhat addicting. I look forward to sharing some ideas and I hope to engage you in the conversation. I can’t think of a more engaging subject than the PSP-MSP (Print Services Provider to Marketing Services Provider) controversy.
The motivation is simple but the concept has created quite the debate. The printing industry is struggling with cyclical and structural changes, which is reducing the demand for printed products and changing the products offered. The cyclical change is tied to the economy, while the structural changes are from technologies that are disruptive to the printing industry such as the Internet/email, cell phones, and e-books among others.
Clearly, the greatest issue is the threat of substitute products and services from sources such as computers, the internet, cell phones, and laser printers and copiers. One way to overcome this threat is to create new solutions that do not have a comparable threat of substitution. Variable data printing is one example of a product that has existed for years but more recently companies have started to offer other products that might be considered more of a marketing service than a printer service.
Among these new solutions are email marketing, Purls, SMS (texts), social media marketing and QR codes. As companies evolve and offer these marketing and value-added services, this trend has been coined the PSP-MSP transition.
This trend has created some fans and some critics. You may have read about this when Margie Dana the founder of Print Buyers International wrote in her blog, “I’ve had it with printing companies masquerading as marketing solutions providers…Who’s the cluck behind this movement, anyway? Do you really think that print customers, creatives and corporate marketing managers won’t eventually find out that you’re a manufacturer? Why are you hiding it, anyway? You’re not ashamed of being a printer, are you?”
I heard this loud and clear almost a year ago at NAPL’s Top Management Conference. During one panel discussion with print buyers, a few print buyers said they were not interested or happy that printers were offering or branding themselves as marketing service providers.
Clearly, there are many sides to this story. Which side are you on? Should printers offer marketing services? Should printers brand themselves as marketing providers?
Howard Fenton is a Senior Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research.
The PSP-MSP Controversy
Written by Howie Fenton
new trends are always good to have an eye on, the traditional printing market is changing. From my perspective in Germany the complicated point in transition from PSP to MSP is the industry by himself. Traditional roles, traditional thinking, only paper counts, traditional technologies… noone gave a Cent for the PDF format years ago… same with new media… dead for the printing industry.
No the market changed and all are crazy about smaller budgets and less printed products when thinking the pld way.
Change has to start with the thinking of the printers, but that is hard to do when thinking traditionally since decades.
I spoke with marketing & advertising agencies who have the same problem.
Think different, think VDP, think personally, not mass production. targeted messages.
It makes me crazy when I see that it’s clear for all that websites are measurable and trackable… showing the same with print materials they struggle…
A mission which takes time… but my thinking is, that we don’t have the time to plan this transition over years. It has to happen within a much shorter amount of time to make profit on the marets than years ago… and that is the problem… No time for inventing, no risks anymore to start something new… a pitty, or?
A very timely blog, as a sales rep for Xerox, part of my talk tract to printers is the ability to be market providers. I feel they need to offer these services to stay revelant. I would like to hear more on this subject.
Thanks for the great comments and I agree, it is very tough to make a transition from PSP to MSP when business is down. That’s why I coach companies on smaller steps. Instead of trying to tackle this 800 lbs gorilla, start with 50 lbs monkey. (Why all this monkey talk? Too many late night David Letterman shows where he jokes, “I wouldn’t give your troubles to a monkey on a rock”.) But seriously I have seen companies start with the sales and production training to master variable data printing, engage a few enabling customers, and then make an almost a natural evolution to more data based driven marketing services such as pURLS, QR codes, email marketing, etc.
Who says we’re hiding? Our in-house design studio showed an 8% growth in revenue last year and they are the support behind the value added services we “wrap around” traditional and digital printing services. We are not just a PSP but a solutions provider. #hbpmarketing
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