Inaugural survey of association printing, mailing, fulfillment, and marketing services providers yields new perspective on how companies are responding to current industry challenges.
East Rutherford, N.J. (April 23, 2014)―The inaugural Critical Trends survey of printing, mailing, fulfillment, and marketing services company members of AMSP/NAPL/NAQP has yielded a new perspective on the ways in which these companies are meeting the challenges of an evolving graphic communications industry. AMSP/NAPL/NAQP is the new association formed on January 1, 2014 through the merger of the Association of Marketing Service Providers, National Association for Printing Leadership, and National Association of Quick Printers.
“The results of our survey raise three important points,” says association Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi. “First, the lines between company types are blurring; second, we are redefining our businesses, and third, we have more options than ever when it comes to determining what our business will be―including sticking to our core services―and a much smaller margin for error in choosing our options.”
Paparozzi points out that 96% of the printing companies surveyed for the report offer digital color printing, but so do 88.9% of the marketing services providers, and 51.7% of mailing services providers. And, he notes, 82% of printers and 88.9% of marketing service providers also offer mailing services, while all three groups offer fulfillment services: 83.3% of marketing services companies, 70% of printers, and 65.5% of mailers.
“Not long ago we would have dismissed many of the services our members are offering―from data and database management and content creation to email marketing, mobile advertising, and search engine optimization―as not having anything to do with our business. In fact, we probably wouldn’t even have known what some of them were,” he continues.
“Now we are embracing numerous new ways to get involved in our clients’ work earlier, stay involved longer, and satisfy a broader range of their business needs,” he says. As a result, companies have a wider range of service choices to consider and more at stake if they do not select their services wisely and/or develop adequate competitive competency in them.
Despite today’s industry and economic challenges, the Critical Trends Report finds that the majority of the companies surveyed grew in 2013 and expect to grow even faster and more profitably in 2014 because, as Paparozzi notes, “they are not letting stiff challenges such as the rising cost of healthcare benefits and heightened uncertainty about the direction of our industry, economy, and nation, distract them from doing what they know has to be done.”
He points out that four out of five (81.4%) of companies surveyed expect to increase sales this year, by nearly 7% on average, while three out of four (75%) expect to grow at least 5%, and nearly half (45%) at least 10%. A scant 8.1% expect sales to decline. When it comes to profitability, 71.9% of companies surveyed expect to be more profitable this year than in 2013.
And, while many believe an upturn in the economy (55.9%) and the failure of competitors (42.6%) will contribute to this profitability growth, fully two-thirds plan to become more profitable through their own actions. “Some 67.6% expect to boost profitability by selling and marketing more effectively, getting more valuable to current clients, and taking other actions to gain market share,” says Paparozzi, “while more than 48% expect to create a more profitable sales mix and over 44% expect to lower costs and increase efficiency.”
The 16-page Critical Trends Report provides extensive data on percentages of services offered by printers, mailers, and marketing services providers for some three dozen service categories; 2013 sales results for these companies; the 20 biggest concerns they have about 2014; what initiatives they have undertaken over the last two-to-three years to upgrade capacity and expand marketing services; and what actions they expect to take over the next two-to-three years to be more successful.