I’m often asked to write on the topic of how to sell 1:1 printing, personalized URLs, QR codes, and other hot-button applications. I never know what to say. I don’t know what to say because the answer is, you don’t.
Nobody wants to hear this. Printers want to hear that by investing in this equipment, this software, this application, they’ll turbo-charge their sales. It’s true that you might make some inroads into new clients by offering these applications, and you might get an existing client or two to give 1:1 or QR codes a whirl, but that isn’t going to save the business.
The companies that have been really successful with these applications aren’t selling them as applications. They are selling marketing. They go into the client’s location and say, “What’s your problem? How can we fix it?” If that fix requires 1:1, they’ll use that. If it requires social media, they’ll use that. If it requires television, radio, short-run segmentation, long-run transactional, whatever it is, they’ll use that.
Even at highly successful companies, there is no guarantee that if you took the 1:1 portion of their business by itself, it would even pay for itself. But having 1:1 printing (or personalized URLs, QR codes, mobile marketing, fill in the blank) is part of a larger expertise base that gives them the tool set they need. If they need 1:1 printing, it’s there. If they need personalized URLs, they’re there. That’s what makes them successful companies—the range of tools and the expertise to wield them.
It’s difficult enough to learn 1:1, let alone social media, mobile marketing, and QR codes, too. You mean you have to be proficient at all of them in order to sell one of them? Well, kind of, yes. Isn’t that’s what marketing is all about? Understanding the marketing landscape and then using the right tool(s) to accomplish the client’s objective?
If printers want to be marketing services providers, they need to do the same. That’s what marketing services means. It doesn’t mean marketing services implementation (you figure it out and we’ll serve it up for you). It means marketing. This doesn’t happen by installing a new press or a new piece of software. It happens by changing the focus, core competency, and priorities of your company.