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Cross-Media and the In-plant

Getting into the cross-media game can enable in-plants to increase their strategic relevance and elevate their value within their parent organizations. So why are they so far behind commercial printers in offering this service?

December 2011 By Lisa Cross
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THE GRAPHIC communications industry is in the middle of an evolution to expand services beyond print to include cross-media and marketing. Unfortunately, the in-plant market is largely absent from the move, according to an Info-Trends research study The Evolution of the Cross-Media Marketing Services Provider. The key barrier keeping in-plants from making the transformation is that they don’t understand why or how to offer cross-media marketing services.

The goal of the study was to assess the current state of the industry’s move into cross-media marketing services and identify the best practices for successfully making the transition. InfoTrends defines cross-media marketing services as the use of two or more media types—print, e-mail, Web, mobile and/or social media (Facebook, Twitter)—supported by marketing services such as creative, campaign management and data analytics.

InfoTrends surveyed almost 350 firms, made up of 285 print service providers (PSPs)and 63 in-plant printing organizations. The research included in-depth telephone interviews with 30 firms that successfully made the transition to offering cross-media marketing services. 

One of the overarching trends of the study was that the in-plant market is struggling with the transition, while the print-for-pay market is rapidly evolving. Close to 60 percent of print-for-pay firms reported offering cross-media marketing services, compared to 38 percent of in-plant respondents. Overall, 41 percent of in-plant respondents indicated they had no plans to offer cross-media marketing services (see Photos, Figure 1).

Adoption Road Blocks

Research findings indicate that in-plants have been slower to adopt cross-media marketing services for a variety of reasons:

  • They don’t know where to start.
  • Their technology infrastructure and skill sets are limited.
  • They don’t understand how these services will fit into their business model.
  • They face difficulty in creating awareness or convincing customers to specify these services.

In-plants that were not currently offering cross-media services (even if they had plans to start) were asked why they weren’t offering them (see Photos, Figure 2). The top reason was a lack of interest from clients (31 percent), followed by a limited technology infrastructure (23 percent), a belief that these services didn’t fit into the business model (23 percent) and limited technical skills (23 percent). 

At the same time, in-plants making the transition are facing barriers in persuading the organizations they serve to embrace cross-media. 

 

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