For the past year or two, I have eliminated the word Marketing Service Provider (MSP) from my print vocabulary. It started with a conversation with Steven Schnoll at a conference as we discussed the changing industry landscape. Steven was adamant that unless your firm has true marketing consulting experience that calling yourself an MSP doesn’t really make you one. There’s a recent article in Printing Impressions written by Erik Cagle that does a good job of outlining the challenges of being a real MSP (and includes commentary from Schnoll), or as Cagle puts it, being a contender rather than a pretender.
There’s also nothing wrong with being a PSP — print services provider. As long as you realize that being a PSP is more than just putting ink on paper. It’s about being an integral part of the customer’s communication chain, and more than ever before, the necessity of being a solutions provider, rather than just a print provider.