The Myth of the MSP: How Printers Create Relevant Offerings

Could there be anything more boring than the typical, traditional print sales pitch?Results

“Hi, my name’s Bob and I represent a printing company. We offer great service and excellent quality. Our pricing is very competitive. I was wondering if you have any work I could quote?”
Everyone recognizes that if the printing industry is to prosper, we need to move on from sales approaches such as these.

Becoming a Marketing Services Provider was seen as the antidote for this

The idea of the MSP was that printing companies would be able to offer more than just print. They would offer marketing services that would be of great interest to their clients. This would allow them to sell more services and at a higher profit.
There was just one problem with this: few believed that printing companies had the experience to offer these services.

What led to the lack of belief in the MSP model?

Most printing companies do not have any skills in providing marketing services. This offer is based on a different culture and skill set. The printers that tried to offer this soon realized that they were dependent on their clients having the right marketing skills.
In addition, many printing companies that served agencies and similar companies found that their clients were not happy. They felt that printers had set up directly in competition with them.

So what’s the alternative?

Nearly everyone agrees that the traditional sales model for printing companies needs to change. Simply putting ink on paper has become commoditized. Printers have to offer extra services.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to brand yourself as a new type of company.

It’s not about what you call yourself, it’s about the resultsreduce-cost

  • Can you reduce a company’s distribution costs with your fulfillment solution?
  • Can you increase response rates through targeted, 1:1 campaigns?
  • Can you reduce stockholdings and out of date product from just-in-time manufacturing?
  • Can you increase ROMI through personalized direct mail pieces?
  • Can you reduce artworking costs through web-to-print?

These are all conversations that customers are interested in having. They all have results for customers that improve the performance of their company.

What now?

While some have found success with the MSP model, it’s not for everybody. It takes real commitment and effort. Instead, consider starting smaller. Start by offering something more than ink on paper. Start by offering your customer’s results.
If you do want to make the journey into becoming a Marketing Services Provider, Xerox offers a free eBook with tips and tactics to get started. I recommend giving it a download.

PS If you’d like great ideas on how to engage with today’s buyers, download my free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them”. You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to sell print effectively.

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