Commentary: Your Printer, Your Multimedia Solutions Provider
When will the economy start to turn around? What will get my business turned around quickly? Where can I get the help I need? These are some of the questions that every business owner or manager is asking right now. And the answers are tough to find. Very few, if any of us, have ever experienced the economic tsunami that we now are facing.
The conventional wisdom in many previous downturns, at least from a marketing perspective, has been to stimulate business growth by investing in advertising and promotional support. Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is just the opposite—dramatic cutbacks and, in some cases, total elimination of marketing support. Witness the automotive industry, long a critical component of advertising spending and now essentially on life support.
So what do we do? It is unlikely that corporate America will return to dramatic, widespread marketing investment anytime soon. However, we do believe that as the economy stabilizes somewhat—we hope by the second half of the year—we will start to see both a willingness and eagerness by national advertisers to spend by taking a very targeted approach to their plans. Virtually every marketer understands that the psychographics of its target audience has changed dramatically, this target audience is tougher than ever to reach effectively and that there are more media choices for reaching them than ever before.
Print, unfortunately, has a much smaller slice of the pie. Many great printing companies either are out of business or on the verge of going out of business. Sure, the economy certainly is the big reason. But there also is the matter of supply and demand that has been discussed by many pundits. Over the past 10 to 15 years, as a result of technological innovation and more productive presses, the print industry expanded capacity at a rate far greater than demand.
But guess what? Despite this scenario, there are many printing and graphic communications companies that should be your best resources to help execute your marketing plans and achieve your objectives.
Many of these companies that built their businesses as solid traditional printing companies have taken drastic steps to reinvent themselves. Some have been reactive; many have been proactive. Whatever the motivation, the print providers that have embraced the new paradigm that offering just printing services is no longer a sustainable business model are strategically positioned to be not just relevant, but critical to their clients' success. The companies that are succeeding have evolved very quickly into the dual roles of being multimedia providers and multimedia business consultants.