A while back a posted a piece on TheDigitalNirvana entitled “Do You Eat Your Own Cooking” which pondered why so many direct mailers and so-called Marketing Services Providers fail to set up even a rudimentary marketing program for themselves. Apparently, my neighbors in Boston at Sappi Fine Paper perceived the same problem. On Wednesday they launched a new “Digital Design Center” with the stated goal of enabling printers to create custom marketing tools to promote their own digital printing capabilities.

Jennifer Miller, Executive Vice President, Strategic Communications says, “With the introduction of this powerful, customer-friendly tool, we hope to inspire our printer partners and take our digital product portfolio to the next level.” It appears to me that Sappi is a company that is not only willing to eat their own cooking, they are willing to share the recipe and give cooking lessons. By providing a marketing tool to printers, Sappi also gains an opportunity to showcase their wares to target buyers and recommenders of their product portfolio. Brilliant!

The web-based Digital Design Center allows printers to enter their print shop specific information based on topics such as: Products (the equipment the print shop runs), Services (Creative, Logistics, Prepress, Proofing, among others), and Sustainability (Chain of Custody certifications, renewable energy usage, recycling program). In addition, the tool provides a wealth of information about the digital printing and paper segment as well as tips and tricks to optimize digital printing on Sappi's portfolio of digital papers.   Printers using the tool can select from a variety of marketing templates and then choose a portfolio of high-res, premium images to print along with their customized marketing piece. Images from the Automotive, Fashion, Pharmaceutical, Retail and Travel industries are provided from Friend+Johnson as a benefit of using the site.  Very quickly, using Sappi's Digital Design Center tool, printers have a high-value, customized marketing sell sheet and a portfolio of theme-specific images to help them sell their services. Better yet – they are showcasing their capabilities by using their capabilities.

Granted that anyone who is providing these types of services to their customers should already have a solution in place for producing customized marketing materials, but sadly, the cobbler’s children often go barefoot, cooks eat at someone else’s restaurant and marketing services providers do a poor job marketing their own services. Toques off to Sappi.