Printing Alliances: Wave of the Future?

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Direct marketing services provider Specialized Direct Response is counting on an alliance with Gunther's Printing to help double its revenue and profit for 1998. The arrangement could be a sign of things to come for small commercial printers.

By combining Specialized's database, personalization, design and fulfillment functions with Gunther's pre-press and color printing capabilities, the two Irvine, CA, firms are marketing a complete campaign package to clients.

"It will be a trend for customers to come to one single place compared to the old way where you had to take it step by step,'' said Colette Leider, chief financial officer at Gunther. "For clients of smaller printers, there is definitely a demand for a one-stop shop.''

Bucking the trend toward outsourcing, Specialized had been selling a complete package since 1989. The alliance now enables them to offer additional marketing products such as brochures, catalogs and annual reports.

The efficiencies created by combining production facilities under one roof will mean quicker turnaround time and lower prices by eliminating additional vendor markups. The firms also can draw on a larger total customer base.

"We really want to convert Gunther's customers over to complete package,'' said Specialized president Bob Frengel. "The response has been very good.''

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