Written by Mary Roddy
Marketing Manager, Premier Partners Global Network
Xerox Corporation

Have you noticed that many print providers who are successful in multi-media marketing have executives with marketing backgrounds? Their advantage is that they talk the marketer’s talk in a world where significant print volume derives from print’s growing role in integrated campaigns.

Print may no longer be an automatic choice for every campaign, but its strategic use often boosts results. Plenty of data is available to make that case — see Print in the Mix — but making the case typically requires you to be in the room when campaign strategies are discussed.

Clearly, having your own marketing expertise helps get you a seat at that table. You can hire this expertise, or you can develop it. Or do both, so you can better judge your hire. Attend a marketing seminar. Take a night class. Join a local professional marketing organization. Test what you’ve learned by experimenting with your own company’s marketing approach. Track results so you understand what works and can better document successes in case histories for prospects.

Note however, that marketing knowledge alone won’t get you there. You also need to understand your customers’ industry, their pain points, their business objectives and opportunities. Then you can apply your marketing knowledge to solve their business problems. So read their industry’s trade publications. Attend their webinars and trade shows. Join their online discussion groups. And if you’re hiring a marketer, hire from the same industry as your top clients.

Then set reasonable goals for building relationships with marketers and hold yourself accountable. That’s how the market leaders do it.

You will still be challenged. See what Xerox CMO Christa Carone has to say about the number of solicitations she receives every day — and which ones work the best — in this video.

Do you think it’s necessary for print providers to be marketing literate? If so, how are you building that expertise?