If you close your eyes for a minute, you’ll miss the latest changes in our marketing industry. Just last week, while working on a client website, my programmer asked me if the PINC (Printing Industry of Northern California) changed their name to the Visual Media Alliance. While looking for their logo on the web, we were directed to the VMA. The PINC is an 80 year-old association, primarily serving the printing industry in NorCal.
Printers everywhere are grasping at straws to try to stay relevant. With the exception of the census, the days of large blanket direct mail campaigns have gone the way of the Dodo. Just this last week, long time Sacramento printer Graphic Center closed their doors and auctioned their equipment. This is an addition to Herald Printing, Colour Press and American Mail. Even long time printer Alonzo Printing tried changing their business model to green, but still closed their doors.
Those that are surviving are scrambling to add services they otherwise would not have considered, such as mail services for printers and printing for mail services. Up to this point most companies, focused on their area of expertise and took great pride in their trade. Although it appears to be more efficient to bundle these processes, the nature of these disciplines are different, which can lead to mistakes that can go unchecked by the customer. I’ve seen this first hand and it seems to be a common occurrence.
So the leading printing association in Northern California is redefining themselves. Throughout their history, they have focus on printing and companion services and because of market dynamics, they are targeting public relations and marketing communications companies, publishers, graphic design firms and web developers. What does this mean? There is certainly little stability in the market and many are forced to recreate themselves. They are also losing their focus and are trying to become all things to all people, which makes them experts as nothing.
Be careful, it’s hard to be a jack of all trades and what you don’t know and your provider doesn’t know, can be very costly. I think that’s called ignorance, which can be bliss, but not when it comes to your business.