Cross-Media: an Overlooked Opportunity for In-plants?
Adoption rates of cross-media marketing services are low for in-plants, but those that have moved in this direction say it has helped them demonstrate value, improve customer service and increase digital print volume.November 2013 By Stephanie Pieruccini
As in-plants seek new service and product offerings to maintain their relevance to customers within their parent organizations, one service that should not be overlooked is cross-media marketing. Once implemented, it can allow them to capture a larger portion of their customers' total communications—not just print.
Adding new media channels and related services is not an easy task. Transitioning an in-plant from providing only printed documents to offering print plus online, mobile and social media services requires major changes to long-standing business models—as well as buy-in from both customers and the parent organization. Investments in technology implementation, staff training and customer education require time to yield results.
To assess the current state of print services providers' adoption of cross-media services and identify best practices to grow these services, InfoTrends recently surveyed readers of In-plant Graphics. In September, in partnership with North American Publishing Company (IPG's parent company), InfoTrends surveyed 142 print service providers, including 43 in-plants, to find out how they are developing, implementing and growing cross-media services. The results from this survey provide practical insights for in-plants into how cross-media technology is being implemented in production print environments and the key opportunities it provides.
Low Adoption Among In-plants
According to survey respondents, adoption of cross-media marketing services is relatively low for in-plants. Close to 18 percent of in-plants reported offering cross-media, while 42 percent didn't offer it and had no plans to do so. Compare this to the nearly 38 percent of commercial print provider respondents that currently offer cross media services.
As variable data printing is often one of the first steps towards offering cross-media services, to support the need for direct mail, we asked respondents who do not offer cross-media if they offer variable data printing; more than half of in-plants reportedly offer it.
Findings indicate that in-plants have been slow to offer cross-media marketing services for a variety of reasons:
- They don't know how to price or market the service.
- They lack a strategy.
- They don't understand how these services will fit into their business model.
- It's difficult to create awareness or convince customers to specify these services.
There are many reasons in-plants should consider offering cross-media marketing services. They can not only enhance the value of services offered but create stronger bonds with the departments in-plants serve, making them less likely to outsource work over a minimal cost difference. Also, these services minimize the threat of outsourcing and create new and recurring service streams.