Cross-Media Marketing: The Evolution Takes Hold

Eve Padula
Aug 2, 2011

The long-discussed move from offering only print to providing a host of media options backed by a solid marketing strategy is firmly taking hold in the market. This assertion is reflected in InfoTrends’ newly released study entitled The Evolution of the Cross-Media Marketing Services Provider. This research involved a survey of 285 print service providers (PSPs) and 63 in-plant organizations, and one-on-one interviews with close to 30 firms that have successfully made the cross-media transition. The goal of the study was to understand the current state of the transition, the benefits gained and challenges faced in making the move, best practices of early adopters, and organizational modifications required to succeed in offering cross-media marketing services.

The study revealed that successfully moving into cross-media marketing demands many levels of organizational change. Organizations must establish new marketing approaches, sales models, pricing strategies, and compensation practices for these new value-added capabilities. They need to determine the equipment and software investments that are required for delivering these services. They must also gain a solid understanding of the next phase in the cross-media and marketing services evolution. How will tomorrow’s market embrace print, online, social, mobile, and whatever media comes next?

One of the overarching trends of our research was that PSPs understand the value of offering cross-media marketing services, and they are moving in that direction. Meanwhile, the in-plant market is struggling. Close to 60% of PSPs reported offering cross-media services, compared to 38% of in-plant respondents. Furthermore, over 40% of in-plants had no plans to offer cross-media marketing services.

Figure 1: Do you offer cross-media marketing services?

Print service providers who were currently offering cross-media marketing services or planning to offer them in the near future reported their top challenges as determining how to price and educating clients. It should be noted that pricing was also a top concern for the firms that planned to add cross-media marketing services in the next two years.

Figure 2: What do you consider the top three challenges for OFFERING cross-media marketing initiatives in your print operation?

Drilling deeper on pricing, firms offering cross-media reported uncertainty about client acceptance (43%), moving customers from a per-unit pricing mentality (34%), and determining real costs and overhead (34%) as their top pricing challenges.

Executives from the firms that we interviewed reported that pricing is indeed an art form. A common theme was that some elements of the price are standard, but the charge to the customer is often based on scoping the project requirements to determine and cover baseline costs, then marking up that project based on gathering customer intelligence.

“Pricing is not easy because it’s a moving target,” explained the Marketing VP of a cross-media provider located in the South. “You must determine the client’s budget for a project and then build a program that takes most of the budget. You need to identify the value of a win for the specific client and price for it. If a single campaign is worth $100,000, that’s what you need to charge for.”

InfoTrends’ newest multi-client report is currently available for purchase. This 100+ page document provides separate sections for print service providers and in-plants, as well as a combined section to show how the groups compare to each other. For more information on The Evolution of the Cross-Media Marketing Services Provider, please contact Jenn Skerrett at or (781) 616-2111.

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