Printing: Should You Do It Yourself or Hire Someone. It’s Easy

After email and browsing the web I would guess that printing is the task businesses do the most.
We get an email, with the fine print that reads “please think before printing” and we print the document 2 or 3 times. When we are going to a client meeting we prepare the nice little Power Point but also print out copies of the presentation. Printing is what we do day in and day out. When we get home, go to softball practice, put the kids to bed and go back to work in our home offices for an hour or two or three, we print that long spreadsheet from our boss or colleague over seas.
Many business also do their own “marketing printing”, this is printing not for personal consumption but sales proposals for clients, brochures and other things. This type of printing request two things a) a well designed product and b) a low cost and efficient way to get the material printed. Do you need 10, back to back, single sheet flyers or 500 double stapled brochures.
I’ve found that there is not one right answer for printing solutions. You can stick your own logo on a sheet of paper and put information about your company. Print it in color and I’m sure it will look pretty nice. On the other hand, asking a designer to do it, will look much better. As I highly recommend every business owner have one or more technology consultants on board, I highly recommend every business owner have one or more designer they can call upon for print design help.
How things are printed is also important. You can print smaller quantities in your office, but if you need to print hundreds of copies of a 20 page brochure, the only option you have is to print it commercially. HP’s services help you design and print what you need.
marketsplash.gifHP continues to make strides in making ti easier for customers to not only print but also ensure that what they print is well design. Over the years it’s put together a network of printing services and products. As an outgrowth to HP’s Print 2.0 campaign, HP recently launched a new web site service, MarketSplash.com. I interviewed HP about this below.
Q: Please review HP’s various printing services. I know there is Logoworks, MarketSplash, and at least one other announced some weeks ago that I can’t seem to remember.
>A: Specific to the small business audience, HP’s key online marketing resources include MarketSplash, Logoworks and the HP Creative Studio.There are key distinctions to each.


Almost two years ago, HP acquired Arteis, a company that operated Logoworks which offered web-based graphic design services that helped small businesses get a “big business” look and feel without needing a big business budget. The intent behind the acquisition was to expand and enhance these technologies, leveraging both companies’ capabilities, to deliver even greater value to customers and additional business opportunities for IPG. These efforts culminated in the transformation of Logoworks and our recent launch of MarketSplash by HP (www.marketsplash.com).
MarketSplash builds on the Logoworks custom design solution and offers the small business customer the ability to create marketing collateral and business stationery themselves. MarketSplash incorporates the Logoworks offering, but also offers a broad range of DIY (do-it-yourself) marketing products and services, provides a choice of print fulfillment options and complements the affordable custom solutions with low price DIY solutions. MarketSplash will roll Logoworks services within its larger framework, while still leveraging the technologies, professional design services and large network of design experts from Logoworks and use the same unique web-based service model to reduce cost barriers typically associated with professional design.
The HP Creative Studio – For Business (www.hp.com/print) is primarily a gateway that provides small businesses with a single entry point to access HP’s many web services, including MarketSplash by HP and Logoworks, and also third-party experiences for creative content. The HP Creative Studio is another way to access MarketSplash.com. Free templates will continue to exist on hp.com and under the HP Creative Studio. For customers who desire more than what the existing free templates offer, MarketSplash gives small businesses premium DIY online templates and custom design offerings for a range of marketing products and services from business stationery, brochures, logos and website design to one-on-one brand design consultation services.
Q: How much of these offerings are from HP direct and how much are from vendors
A: MarketSplash and Logoworks are HP offers. Both the DIY design solution and the custom design solution that enable the creation of the designs for our customers have been developed in-house by the HP MarketSplash team. However, MarketSplash and Logoworks are not printers. Rather, HP has built partnerships with PSP’s and retailers for print fulfillment. Logoworks and MarketSplash also leverage other third party solutions to ensure we offer a complete portfolio of products and services to meet the marketing needs of the small business customer..
The HP Creative Studio – For Business acts more as a gateway, providing a single entry point to access HP’s many web services, including MarketSplash by HP and Logoworks, but also includes connects visitors with a wealth of third-party offerings as well.
Q: From what I see, these moves are indeed direct competition to Vistaprint, 48hourprint, and other online printing services. Correct? Even – Kinkos and Staples to some degree, although I think HP is working with Staples in some areas
A: While there are other online services/printers offering printed products such as business cards, there is a distinction between MarketSplash and these vendors. MarketSplash’s intent is not to be a printer or print provider. In fact, MarketSplash is actually looking to work in a complimentary manner with print service providers (PSPs). MarketSplash enables and promotes printing for PSPs and partners such as Staples. MarketSplash gives customers the convenience of choosing to complete and print their projects how and where they want. They can choose to print from their own printers, receive their order via mail delivery or pick it up at any Staples Copy and Print center in its retail stores in the United States. In the option for mail delivery, MarketSplash is currently working with PSPs for print fulfillment. The PSP network for MarketSplash is not exclusive and HP expects the network of PSPs to grow as MarketSplash and its customer base grows.
MarketSplash is print agnostic; the greater priority is to provide customers the convenience and freedom to choose how they want to fulfill their orders.
Q: From the start of HP’s Print 2.0 it’s clear HP wants to be and is more than “just printers” – with this new announcement how does this reinforce this message?
A: As you’ve probably heard VJ mention, we are moving deeper into a content consumption category, and he calls this shift Print 2.0. Print 2.0 expands HP’s strategic focus from the PC-enabled world of printers towards a more open, Internet/Intranet enabled one, leveraging all forms of personal and professional digital content. MarketSplash is part of HP’s strategy to leverage the power of the Web as a gateway for customers to create, communicate, collaborate and publish content in ways they couldn’t before.
Just as Snapfish was key to enabling and driving digital photo printing for HP and its retail partners, MarketSplash and Logoworks will play a similar role for small businesses. With MarketSplash and Logoworks, HP is now expanding its role as a marketing partner to small businesses and further driving the shift from analog to digital printing for this segment, as well as growing digital printing opportunities for HP’s partners.
Specifically, by leveraging the assets that both HP and Logoworks bring to the table, we will be able to achieve two objectives. First, MarketSplash is defining a new standard of quality and service for small business marketing services. In one place, businesses will be able to easily create essential marketing materials at some of the lowest prices and fastest delivery times available in the industry. This is currently a fragmented category with no one doing a great job of meeting all the customer’s needs.
Second, our graphic design services can help enable other HP businesses add value and differentiate. By expanding the quality of marketing materials available, more customers will be printing using HP printers and supplies — whether MarketSplash customers choose to print in their home office or through a PSP within the MarktSplash network.
Q: Related to my earlier question, is traditional printing as important to HP as online printing services?
A: The introduction of MarketSplash does not diminish the importance of “traditional printing.” In fact, our longer term vision for MarketSplash includes efforts to provide value add offers within MarketSplash for HP printers and supplies that may help further differentiate HP products from the competition.
For example, cross promotional activities could include offering free products such as business cards or special access to reserve tools and templates when customers purchase HP printers or supplies.
MarketSplash creates a vehicle for us to differentiate, lift and add value to the HP print value proposition through cross promotions and product innovations. We see great opportunities to further expand the business by partnering right inside our own company
Q: HP has been pushing small businesses to DIY printing. Is HP now suggesting to outsource printing to HP’s online services?
A: First and foremost, MarketSplash is trying to address real business challenges for small business customers.
Small businesses are extremely limited on money, time and resources. They also want to stand apart from the sea of competitors but don’t often have the know-how to create a strong and professional image or know where to go for affordable help.
MarketSplash is working to address these issues while delivering a great customer experience. In order to provide a great experience, MarketSplash is delivering on great prices, easy to use tools but also offering customers flexible options to fulfill their orders. MarketSplash realizes that one size does not fit all and that customers need choices to match their unique needs.
Again, MarketSplash itself is not a printer or PSP; MarketSplash is print agnostic. It is more important to match the needs of the customer by allowing them to print how and where they want. MarketSplash provides for the option to print at home/home office, receive orders via mail delivery or pick-up at retail.
MarketSplash would welcome customers to print at home if that option is the best fit for them. Additionally, as mentioned, MarketSplash’s longer term goal includes packaging up value add offers within MarketSplash for HP printers and supplies to further help and incent DIY-minded customers to continue to use HP products.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook