Companies often consider outsourcing, when they are planning to enhance their operations and look for cost savings by focusing only on their core areas of expertise. When for example, the time-consuming ground work for advertising campaigns, such as designing and tendering, is outsourced to a skilled partner, it saves the working hours of the company’s own personnel, as well as, generating cost savings. Additionally, the specialized outsourcing partners can add value to the company’s operations through their expertize.
Print Management Companies (PMC’s) help companies to save costs by providing assistance, for example campaign planning, designing, warehousing, logistics and reporting. We asked Tiina Ollikainen from Adare International about her thoughts on what brands should take into account when choosing a Print Management (PM) partner. These five things are;
1. Customer's need
2. Required results
3. Reporting system and accuracy
4. Networks and distribution
5. References and innovativeness
1. CUSTOMER’S NEED
Co-operation with any partner should start with listening to the customer’s needs and thinking about how to offer them added value, says Ollikainen. Especially with in-store advertising, it is important that both the customer and the Print Management partner are aware of where and how the ads are going to be placed and attached. When tendering to various operators, the Print Management partner must also be aware whether their client appreciates low cost, fast delivery time, or total quality.
Campaign planning with advertising agencies usually starts with the campaign's visual identity. However, the limitations set by the store, as well as, the selection of the campaign material should be taken into account even prior to the visual aspects of the campaign being planned. In many cases, the representative of the Print Management Company is involved in the campaign planning meetings together with their client, as well as, with their advertising agency. By doing so, each party is aware of the limitations and often-tight deadlines of the campaign.
When planning the campaigns with their PM-partners, customers typically already have an idea in mind or even a more detailed plan for the implementation of the campaign. A PM-partner's task is to go through the detailed campaign specification with the customer:
- Where the campaign will be set up (store-plan, place, surfaces)?
- Who will implement/ install the campaign (e.g. store personnel or merchandizers)?
- What is the purpose of the campaign (objectives, duration)?
Based on the discussion the PM-partner proposes the use of a suitable material, tenders the suppliers and chooses the most appropriate option for the client or suggests an entirely different option with which to implement the campaign.
Campaign planning must also take into account the needs of store personnel or merchandizers. Very often customers ask for stackable, easy-to-install and removable campaign materials in order to save storage space and the personnel’s or product demonstrators’ time.
2. REQUIRED RESULTS
A Print Management Company is acquired to bring cost savings to the customer. Both parties should write down the goals of the co-operation and define how those goals are going to be achieved before signing the contract.
Nowadays, many companies are looking for overall comprehensive solutions, which may not result in savings immediately, but start to bring cost savings at a later time. On the other hand, some companies are looking for short-term savings , or added-value benefits such as effective advertising campaigns that get as much attention as possible. To fulfill these wishes and objectives, the PMC needs extensive networks, as well as, insight and experience from different markets.
The customer should also be able to trust that their Print Management partner’s proposals, for example regarding the material choices, are really working and generating savings in the long term, even though the unit price of the material could be higher compared to the material they have previously used.
According to Ollikainen, the PMC must also dare to suggest another material if the material desired by the customer is, for some reason, not suitable for the campaign needs or its total costs are significantly higher.
3. REPORTING SYSTEM AND ACCURACY
Nowadays, it should be possible to measure every advertising campaign and its results as accurately as possible. How the information is reported is essential for its’ accurate measurement. This underlines the importance of the reporting system and the analytics used by the Print Management Company. At what level and accuracy should the information be available and how easy-to-read it is?
In order to generate cost savings and improve efficiency, the client should be able to monitor how their different campaigns are working in order to improve and modify those that are not bringing the desired results – even during the campaign.
4. NETWORKS AND DISTRIBUTION
Each market has its own characteristics and what works for one market may not work at all for another one. In particular, international brands should take into account the Print Management Company’s distribution, expertise and understanding of different markets when choosing a partner.
Brands should be able to serve their customers, both internationally and locally. In such circumstances, the PM-partner’s capability to act locally in different countries brings significant added value to the customer.
5. REFERENCES AND INNOVATIVENESS
Print Management Company should be able to bring new ideas to their clients’ advertising campaign planning. Therefore, the PMC’s networks have an important role, especially in bringing new solutions to the print advertising industry, where almost every idea has already been used. A PMC can approach its partners in order to inquire for new ideas or, for example, already tested and well-operating solutions from some other markets.
The client should also check the customer references of the potential PM-partner. References most often reveal whether the operator has the expertise to identify and solve the customer’s problems and bottlenecks.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
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