Print Shop Marketing Tip: Follow Trends in Creative Agencies Just as no two print shops are alike, few creative agencies offer the same mix of services. Before your print shop marketing team reaches out to creative agencies in your area, learn more about the specific services each agency offers. For example, your sales pitch to an experiential marketing agency should be different than your pitch to an experiential graphic design firm. Rapid changes in marketing channels and communications technologies are responsible for the creation of new types of agencies. While in-house agencies often handle digital marketing tasks that require fast-turnaround and access to customer data, boutique agencies help marketers execute multi-channel campaigns or evaluate how to use emerging technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. Here’s a quick overview of some of the different categories of agencies that exist today. Note that the ranges of services offered often overlap, depending on the size and location of the agency and the background of the founders. Advertising Agencies help advertisers buy time on TV or radio programs or space in printed magazines and newspapers. They also develop creative campaigns to provide consistent, frequently repeated brand messages in all of the broadcast and print advertising. Out-of-home media companies are a specialized type of advertising agency that enables clients to place printed or electronic advertising messages in leased locations in airports, train stations, and bus shelters, and on commuter vehicles, billboards and sidewalk displays. Out-of-home media companies often work with branding agencies or design studies to get the creative elements of the advertising.
Branding Agencies help companies create, manage, and measure their brand strategy. Clients include start-up companies that want to build a strong, memorable identity or established brands who want to update their messaging to reflect changes in the culture and target demographics. Digital Marketing Agencies help companies use a combination of mobile apps, email, internet advertising, podcasts, online videos, and other digital technologies to generate measurable results in real time. Design Studios focus on the creative design of advertising graphics, packaging, websites, marketing collateral, interior decor, textiles, products, or apparel. Innovation Agencies help marketers explore ways this use new technologies. For example, AR and VR studios help agencies create visuals and content they can use to incorporate augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies into an advertising campaign, labels, or packaging. Experiential Marketing Agencies help brands create and execute memorable live experiences and retail pop-up stores. Experiential marketing activations strive to generate a lot of word-of-mouth marketing on Instagram and other social media channels. Experiential Graphic Design Firms help architects and interior designers create branded or themed environments that communicate information to site visitors. Experiential graphic design typically supports longer-term “placemaking” projects with wayfinding systems, architectural graphics, on-premise signage, and exhibit design at stores, hotels, healthcare facilities, museums, parks, theme parks, airports, college campuses, and public spaces. Marketing Agencies oversee a mix of services that can include advertising, branding, public relations, event planning, and promotions. Many help marketers analyze the results of different channels of marketing communications. Public Relations Agencies help companies build brand awareness, manage crises that can affect a company’s reputation, and secure editorial coverage in magazines, newspapers, and online publications. They also work with thought leaders and social media influencers, coordinate press events, and support product launches. In-House Agencies give marketing managers access to designers with deep knowledge of the brand’s culture, values, and corporate goals. Many in-house creative teams hire boutique agencies or specialized creative professionals to help with specific projects or new technologies.
Selling print services to creative agencies is similar to selling printing services to any niche markets. Once you understand their business operations and challenges, you can recommend how different types of print services can help them succeed. One way to learn more about creative agencies in your area is to attend events hosted by the local chapter of the AIGA graphic-design association. Some chapters sponsor Design Weeks that include tours of local agencies. The Creative Mornings organization in many cities holds breakfast meetings that attract a mix of independent creative professionals, in-house creatives, and agency designers. As marketing continues to become more data-driven, detail-oriented, and complicated (for both your print shop and your customers), Ordant software can help simplify many day-to-day tasks involved in running your print shop. Ordant’s easy-to-use software streamlines estimating, order management, proof approval, job tracking, and shipping so your team can focus more time on tasks such as developing new business. When you schedule a demonstration of our easy-to-use integrated print-shop management and web-to-print tools, we can show how our customer-relationship management tools can help you keep notes about the different types of creative agencies your shop current serves or would like to serve in the future. Visit www.ordant.com.