It has always amazed me how few printing companies market themselves with much expertise or regularity. I think it may be an industry thing. For most of time advertising agencies were guilty of the same thing. If you asked a president of an advertising agency if he used the media he recommended to his clients, such as print advertising in magazines, the answer was almost always, Well, Uh, No. Same goes for printers.

Bernice LeMaire wrote in Print CEO recently "Start marketing yourself…. Printers are notorious when it comes to marketing themselves to current and prospective customers. Why is that? I don't get it! One of my previous employers had a brochure that was designed and printed five years ago. And let's not talk about the website… outdated information, inaccurate capabilities list, images from the 80's…I could go on and on…"

I feel her pain. After 30 years of service to the graphic arts, printing, packaging and converting industries I have consistently experienced the same thing among those who provide printing!

Why is this, really. I think it's because most printers believe that their best marketing is the printing they do for their customers. For most, making the leap of promoting themselves using their printing capabilities completely escapes them. This is particularly weird when you stop to consider that the cost of printing is seriously less for a printing company than for the rest of us.

But not all printers. The largest printers have long since realized marketing's importance. Printers like Rand McNally, Quebecor, RR Donnelley & Sons, to name a few I have had the privilege of creating marketing programs. All have embraced marketing and hired on professional marketing management to handle these essential functions.

I have often asked presidents of printing companies if they could imagine HP, IBM, Kodak, DuPont, or 3M, etc. without any marketing? All have said a resounding no! So I continue, why can't you imagine your company using marketing to your benefit? A smile or a blank face usually follows.

So here's my closing thought. Maybe the printing companies who embrace marketing, get a hold of a solid brand strategy and implement it, create solid brand messaging that is actually repeated throughout their entire organization from the ceo down to the newest employee will end up with the lion share of the marketplace. Hope it doesn't come at your printing firm's expense.