By Larry Zusman, Worldwide Marketing Manager at XMPie, A Xerox Company
We all know that greeting cards have been around since the early days of printing. And at this time of year, we all receive them in one form or another. But for those companies that have the capability of using customer and company data in unique ways in print and cross-media campaigns, the holidays provide a “not-to-be-missed” opportunity to demonstrate the true value of personalized communications—to their customers. And this year, we are excited to bring our North American customers a special program to add personalized video to their XMPie-driven holiday campaigns.
Among the print and marketing service provider community, the story of the shoemaker who never has time to fix his own shoes is more apropos than ever. While XMPie users develop the most attention-getting, lead-generating campaigns for customers of all types and sizes, they seldom turn those skills upon themselves. For those few who do, self-promotion campaigns have won awards, praise from the industry, and most important, generated leads that have turned into new business. But many users – you know who you are – forget that when it comes to selling 1:1 multichannel campaigns, you need to demonstrate, not just talk about your ability to create “disruptive,” memorable campaigns.
Your customers are the most important ingredient for your continued success. So, it makes sense that this year you invest time and resources to deliver an engaging experience for them in your holiday campaign. For those of you with our uDirect solution, keep in mind that our Marketplace library has many wonderful holiday-themed uImage templates that can be easily incorporated into any campaign. You can also print personalized messages on specialty media and add customer-specific data in the gloss layer of your printed piece. Be inventive and your message will break through.
For our PersonalEffect and uStore customers, the opportunity for you is clear. At a time when companies are investing heavily in new media marketing, and the buzzword on everyone’s lips is “multichannel,” this is the ideal time to pull out all the stops on your holiday campaign. Use print, of course, but also incorporate the use of other media in your messages. Let a print piece start or contribute to the conversation of “thanks,” but also bring them to your Web or mobile site with additional content that reinforces and enhances your messages. Develop a campaign for a local store or restaurant with QR codes to add value to your words of thanks. Provide calendars and other products that will remind them of you and your value to them throughout the year. This may even spur them to look at putting a calendar app on their Facebook page.
Mail getting through the clutter is sometimes difficult, but using multiple channels for your message ensures arrival. Many customers will have their tablets with them and phones, and not be at their desk. Why wait to reach them when they return from where they are? Make sure your campaign is as portable as they are.
Enter Personalized Holiday Videos! For XMPie customers that want to demonstrate the newest capabilities in multichannel communications, and generate exciting new business opportunities in the coming year, we are offering holiday video personalization services through DME Studios, an advanced XMPie video technology provider. This video component, created with the new XMPie uDirect Video solution, is intended to supplement your existing cross-media campaign with PURLS that bring your customers to engaging, musical, multimedia videos, sending your personal “Thank You and Best Wishes in the New Year.”
These engaging, 3D animated videos can be accessed on a Web page or via QR codes to mobile devices. By adding this element to your print or multichannel campaign, you not only strengthen your messages of “thanks,” but position your firm as a leader in new media marketing. And if you do land a personalized video project (which is very likely), XMPie will support you all the way. If you want to know more about our holiday personalized video services, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the title says, “it is time to show off” what you can do for your clients. Time to get those creative juices flowing – or find someone that can do that for you. Time to delve into the full capabilities of XMPie, if you have not yet done so. Time to get the word out there on how you can generate more response for your clients. Time to use new media to forge new opportunities as the communications landscape evolves in front of us. And lastly, time to take all that unique one-to-one power of your solution and put it to the best use possible: thank your customers for their support of all the great work you do for them.
AlphaGraphics North East Campaign Achieves 100% Response Rate and ‘Xcellence Award’ at 2012 XMPie Users Group Conference
By Christine DeNering (formerly Winter), PR/marketing programs manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Just over a month ago, the annual XMPie Users Group Conference was held in Boston. 189 people attended (up 23% from last year!), representing 13 countries, including USA, UK, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, and Sweden. Women attendance was also up 50%, and there were over 35 sessions presented by Adobe, Xerox, prindoz, NEPS, VDP Success, PB Systems, InfoTrends, Traffic GMBH, and XMPie. In talking with some of the attendees, it was obvious that they were very pleased with this year’s conference. Frank Romano even stopped by and had some very positive things to say! Check out the video here.
I myself enjoyed the opportunity to learn and network with our customers. One story I’ve been meaning to share is that of this year’s Xcellence Award winner – AlphaGraphics North East. Stephen Jones was there to represent the Stockton, U.K.-based company and present the innovative marketing campaign that scored the most votes among attendees.
The campaign, referred to by AlphaGraphics as their ‘Contact Toolkit,’ has become an essential marketing tool for their internal and external sales teams to communicate with clients and prospects in a professional manner, sending out personalized, targeted and highly memorable information across multiple media, including email, SMS, direct mail and websites (Personalized URLs). Standard communications, such as a follow-up to a sales meeting or a request for product information, all receive a personal response, tailored to the customer enquiry.
The results of the ‘Contact Toolkit’ campaign demonstrate how AlphaGraphics’ competitive and innovative use of XMPie software works. A massive 100% of customers read through their personalized emails, and 99.3% clicked through to their Personalized URL, a response rate that speaks for itself. AlphaGraphics also greatly improved internal productivity levels and streamlined the overall sales process with this application.
AlphaGraphics North East prides itself as the most technologically advanced firm in the region, and is now offering this ‘Toolkit’ service to local and national businesses. So, a big congratulations to them, and thanks to Compu-Mail, Stoque and NEPS – three great customers who also submitted their work for the awards competition!
I had a chance to sit down with representatives from all four companies at the conference. Watch my interview with Stephen Jones, below, and hear more about AlphaGraphics’ winning campaign. A case study with more details will be coming soon, as well as the video clips from my other customer interviews, so stay tuned!
By the way, the XMPie Users Group in Germany will be holding their 4th conference November 20-21. Interested? Register here.
By John Arnsdorf, product marketing manager at XMPie, A Xerox Company
Even though QR Codes have been around since the mid 90’s, their adoption rate has only recently taken off. This is due in part to a larger population of people toting smartphones with higher resolution cameras, larger screens, faster Internet connections, and lower data rates. Between July and December 2010, QR Code scanning increased an astonishing 1,200% across North America, according to a report from mobile payments and marketing company Mobio Identity Systems Inc. Additionally, a separate study found that 57% of Facebook and Twitter users said they have scanned a mobile barcode at least once in the past year, while as many as 40% had done so 5 or more times in the past year. Considering the Facebook population surpassed a staggering 900 million active members earlier this year, that is a lot of people scanning a lot of QR Codes. Now that QR Codes have gone mainstream, the challenge is to utilize them in new and creative ways that engage customers and allow them to interact with brands in a whole new way.
I am frequently asked by customers, “How can I use QR Codes in my marketing campaigns?” The real question is, “How can you more effectively use QR Codes in your marketing campaigns?” It is not enough to simply slap a 2D barcode onto something; you need to thoughtfully incorporate QR Codes into each touch point; use one to link to online content, use it as a vehicle to interact with customers, or create experience around your brand. Personally, I don’t like answering a question with a question; however, so I’ve written 5 tips to get you thinking about how you might integrate a QR Code into your next campaign.
- Make a QR Code part of the call-to-action. I’m more likely to make the effort to scan a code if I know it might lead me to a personalized coupon, contest, game or something that is out of the ordinary and unique. I might even scan a code to reveal a surprise, but it better be good. It’s always a good idea to offer a strong motivator to entice your target audience into scanning your QR Code.
- Use QR Codes in your signage and displays. I’m a foodie. Consequently, I frequent a lot of wine and cheese shops, and other specialty stores, to learn about and buy the products they sell. Even though I like learning about the products I choose to spend my money on, I don’t like stores that litter the shelves with information about each product. Displays should have just enough information to draw me in and use QR Codes linking to supplemental information, such as varietal information, tasting notes and food pairings.
- Use QR Codes to save your customers time. If you are inviting your loyal customers to an event, use the code to add the event to their calendar with all the relevant details. If you are prospecting to new customers and want them to visit your brick-and-mortar, use the code to give them a map with door-to-door directions. QR Codes can contain up to 4,296 alphanumeric characters, so use them!
- Make it easy for your customers to give you money. Like many of you, I get countless donation letters from every not-for-profit under the sun. The vast majority of them expect me to fill out a form, write a check, and worst of all, find an envelope and stamp. I’m sorry, but that takes too much of the precious little time I do have, and chances are I don’t have a stamp. I think I am still using the same book of forever stamps I bought years ago. Give me a QR Code I can scan that links to a personalized site with all my information filled out and a place to enter my donation and pay with PayPal, and you’ll get my financial support.
- Give your customers something they can keep. Sometimes, after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is spend the next 1-2 hours cooking dinner. So, I turn to my restaurant drawer, which is stuffed to the brim with to-go menus that are typically hand-folded photocopies of photocopies. These notoriously poor reproductions of the normal menu are my take-away impression of the restaurant. What a lost opportunity to ‘wow’ me. Restaurateurs, if you are listening, use a QR Code outside your establishment, which links to a PDF of your menu that I can download and keep on my phone. Now I can have your menu instantly accessible anytime I feel like going out for a bite to eat.
However you choose to use a QR Code in your next campaign, make sure you leverage what you already know about your customers and give them a personalized experience. And if you don’t know anything about me, use the QR Code to get me to a page where I can tell you a little about myself. If I think there is something in it for me, I’m liable to give up a little information.
By Deb Haines, senior trainer/solutions specialist, XMPie, A Xerox Company
The first key to doing any type of variable application, from a simple direct mail piece to a highly-complex, ongoing cross-media campaign, is having accurate data. Often, for those new to the industry, data and managing the files holding the content is a daunting new world. Sure, most people are familiar with using and working with everyday databases; for example, entering information into their phone’s contact list or putting an address list together for events that need invites. However, most people don’t think about the actual list itself, and how a computer application understands or works with that list of data. Most computer applications that read data (similar to the way you would) use a special language called SQL (Structured Query Language), but that discussion is for another time. Let’s start with the basics. Just so you know, terminology will be italicized.
All databases have common characteristics. First, there is the content, which can be described and labeled. For example, the label for “123 Main Street” would be “Street Address,” and the content would consist of letters and numbers. To a computer, the content “123 Main Street” is the called the data value, “Street Address” is called a field or field name, and the description of the content is known as a data type—in this case, a list of characters, known as a string.
When you group a set of related fields, you’ve created a record. The easiest way to see a record is to create a list using a column format with the field names at the top of the column. When you group a set of related records together, you have a data table.
Here’s an example of a customer data table:
|ABC Corporation||123 Main Street||Philadelphia||PA||US101|
|XYZ Industries||222 South Avenue||New York||NY||US102|
|LMN Company||321 NE West Blvd.||CapitolCity||CA||UX202|
|Massive Dynamic||890 Central Road||Denver||CO||US102|
Typically, data of this sort has other information that can be associated with it. In the example above, each company has an agent, and agents have a data table of their own information containing a field called Agent ID. Fields that are common (same data) between two tables are called key fields. Key fields usually have the same field name, but it is not a requirement. When there are multiple tables that can be linked directly or indirectly through other tables, this is known as a Relational Database.
Data tables can be stored in two ways: (1) as a flat data source, or (2) by using an application known as a Relational Database Management System.
Flat data sources are tables that are stored as text files with a symbol known as a delimiter (often a comma or tab) between values, or entered into a spreadsheet (like MS Excel). Data stored in this way usually doesn’t have a method for properly describing the data, nor is there a method to associate their key fields with other tables.
RDMS applications (MySQL, MS Access or SQL Server, Oracle) were built with ways to manage lots of data (millions of records), thousands of data tables, how they relate to each other, and usually their own flavor of SQL.
So, those are the basics of a critical component to successful variable data print and cross-media campaigns – data. Now check out this Digital Publishing Solutions article for insights on obtaining, maintaining and leveraging customer data. Our very own Judy Berlin, worldwide marketing manager for XMPie, shares a couple key pieces of advice.
Thanks for reading, and please comment below if you have any questions!
By Christine Winter, PR/marketing programs manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Here we are…almost through the second week of 2012 already! And while I feel like 2011 went by way too fast, I’m extremely excited about the year ahead.
This is going to be a big year for me for a number of reasons – both personally and professionally. First of all, I am getting married! Nothing beats that. If only I could get Robin Nelson at Trialogue Direct to put together a wedding campaign for me…hmm…
Another reason? I am going to be traveling to Europe for the first time! No, I’m not referring to my honeymoon (we haven’t decided on a destination yet). I’m referring to the world’s number one trade fair for the printing and media industry. That’s right; it’s time to start thinking about drupa 2012. It’s going to be an amazing show with some exciting announcements and new opportunities! I hope you’ll get to join us in Düsseldorf.
And since I don’t think I need to list any other reasons to prove why it’s going to be a good year for me, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading the XMPie Blog. It is my goal to bring you more customer success stories, event highlights, and 1:1 tips and trends every month this year.
Now tell us: Why is 2012 going to be a big year for you or your business? What other topics are you interested in reading about this year?
By Larry Zusman, worldwide marketing manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
What do a guy who acts like a future Jimmy Fallon, personalized videos, and XMPie cross-media all have in common? They are all being used to promote the 2012 PODi AppForum in Las Vegas this January.
PODi, together with DME Studios, a premier marketing agency specializing in innovative forms of communication, and one of XMPie’s first customers in North America, developed a fully integrated, attendee acquisition campaign that uses a personalized video at the forefront. It is a very clever, engaging campaign that I think everyone will get a kick out of. If you haven’t already been invited to experience this campaign, you need to go to www.sparknewideas.com, enter the information required to view the first episode, and you will later receive the subsequent ones.
This campaign is important for several reasons. First, it shows the ability to use very little personalization in a video campaign and be very effective. The key is not what is personalized, but rather how it fits into the story you are trying to tell. Herman’s story works perfectly.
Second, the campaign includes many components, such as email, personalized landing pages, refer-a-friend and data capture, to drive registrations, increase the value of each phase of the campaign, and improve the accuracy of the recipient database. All of this is being driven using an XMPie engine, which is generating all the e-media in the campaign and managing the database. The key point here is that it is fully integrated, with each component “feeding” and “being fed” by another.
Third, the campaign showcases the power of video personalization, and soon, with the introduction of the XMPie PersonalEffect® Video solution, MSPs will able to create these types of videos and a lot more, without custom tools and programming. XMPie PersonalEffect Video, which will be showcased at the AppForum, includes a plug-in for Adobe After Effects, the premier cinematic video and motion graphics software in the industry. Using the Adobe and XMPie software, you will be able to create personalized, cinematic movies with virtually no limitations on text, images and embedded footage. What if you could put personalized data on a rocket in HD video with Dolby sound? Think about how that idea would take off.
I would be remiss if I did not put a plug in for the 2012 PODi AppForum. I have attended many of these conferences, and for those starting to get involved in VDP and cross-media, or for those wanting to move to the next level, this is the place to be. There will be two audiences present: print and marketing service providers (MSPs) and enterprise marketers. Marketers talk about their one-to-one campaigns and share the results. MSPs discuss what campaigns they are doing for clients and how they created and implemented them.
In addition, I am sure most of you are familiar with the PODi Best Practice Awards. These are presented at the conference and the winning applications are showcased in special sessions with the marketer and provider behind the campaign. It is extremely rare to see both on one stage, discussing the campaign in-depth and being able to ask questions about it. You should not miss it.
Be sure to use the Herman campaign to register for the conference today if you have not done so. But first, leave a comment on this blog with your thoughts on the campaign, personalized video, or the PODi AppForum, and we’ll send you a promocode to save $100 on your registration!
Also, don’t forget to check out the special pre-conference intensive session, On the Cutting Edge of Cross Media. We’ll show how to use the new XMPie PersonalEffect Video to create amazing personalized videos from templates with just a few clicks of a mouse. And who knows, maybe Herman will show up after all.
See you there! Larry…out.
By Robin Nelson, programmer at Trialogue Direct
If you’re anything like me, you never considered planning a wedding until you got engaged. And for those of us involved in any aspect of wedding planning, it can be quite stressful and even make some bride-to-be’s just a tad bit crazy.
Fortunately for me (and my husband and anyone else involved), I was quite the unconventional bride and focused on aspects that typically aren’t the norm. I didn’t fuss about the flowers, the dress, centerpieces or location; my concerns were the printed pieces and creating a “campaign” to market my wedding. Perhaps I’ve been in the print industry far too long and have developed some strange appreciation for paper and printing—or maybe I’m more of a nerd for technology than I care to admit—but either way, I had a very specific plan I wanted to execute.
Because weddings are such personal events, more often than not, the bride and groom have a very unique understanding of each of their guests. This in itself allows for such a relevant and almost effortless recipient data collection not typically available by any other means. Having taken full advantage of this aspect and the resources available to me, I was able to utilize XMPie solutions to truly personalize each piece in my wedding campaign.
Being able to embrace and leverage technological tools like XMPie technology not only allowed me to create a cross-media wedding campaign, which honored much traditional etiquette with a modern flare, but also truly made a world of a difference to me. From gathering more information about each of my guests, to the simplest tasks of organization, the advantages in technology can be quite extraordinary to any bride—and greatly appreciated by her guests.
Among my first tasks was to spread the news after getting engaged, and what better way to do so than the traditional methods coupled with the use of technology? Although I’m no designer, I very much wanted to create a website and handle the creative for such a personal project, even if it forced me into unchartered waters to handle certain aspects. Nonetheless, I was able to incorporate what I do for others on a daily basis for myself.
With the use of variable data printing, there was no confusion on head count (thanks to the guests who updated their RURL, especially in regards to children). This allowed me to stay within budget and easily manage my guest list, which goes hand-in-hand with creating a seating chart. Not to mention, this also allowed me to subtly inform each guest how I anticipated any “plus ones.” And of course, the added benefit for anyone who’s heavily reliant on their phone, such as me, is having so much personal contact details on friends and family being consolidated to a single data source with relevant information—truly quite the gold mine.
Another added benefit was a minor savings in postage, and quite possibly a very underrated convenience for guests to RSVP. With the preferred RSVP methods received from the RURL results, and assuming the logical approach depending on the answer given, submitting a RSVP and meal preference couldn’t be made any easier. Having the XMPie Marketing Console iPhone app had also proven itself handy. It allowed me to provide final head counts and meal preferences to my caterer and vendors alike by merely updating my reports on-the-fly.
Of course, after the wedding, there’s still the daunting task of properly thanking each guest with the gratitude they deserve. Fortunately, I had anticipated this aspect to be among the most challenging and quite possibly the most demanding, so I created a listing of QR codes assigned to each guest, which I would snap to update my SQL table with the item(s) received as I opened each gift. Although this process may sound a bit overboard, it truly helped expedite the entire ‘thank you’ process on a highly-personalized level. And although the thank you notes were NOT hand written, they more than possessed your traditional, personal touch.
And so, unlike many happily ever afters, XMPie most certainly has contributed its fair share to this one.
Filed under: Cross Media, Events, General, Marketing, One-to-one
By Christine Winter, PR/marketing programs manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Unless you’re a N.Y. Yankees fan, why wouldn’t you (the real-time marketer) want an excuse to visit Boston for “the global event for real-time marketers?” Exactly. GRAPH EXPO has come and gone, and now it’s time to shift focus towards DMA2011. Here are five reasons to register today:
- We’ll be there! Visit booth #620 to see first hand how XMPie can help you reel in more business and profit with 1:1 multi-channel marketing communications. And, of course, we’ll be showcasing the new solution that got lots of buzz and won a Must See ‘em award at GRAPH EXPO — XMPie uVideo. In fact, hear Xerox CMO Christa Carone talk about why she’s excited about new video technologies here! That leads me to #2…
- Xerox CMO Christa Carone is the Sunday morning keynote speaker. She’ll discuss how to break through information overload with customized marketing and personalized cross-media communications. Her speech, entitled “Are You Talking to Me? Mastering Relevant Messaging through Mass Customization,” will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 2. Click here for a sneak peak!
- Boston is a very cool, fun place. Lots of things to see and do. Did you know it’s one of America’s oldest cities? Check out this list of some sights to check out while you’re in Boston for DMA2011.
- It’s the perfect opportunity to check out the coolest, new cutting-edge marketing tools and techniques, of course! Acquisition and lead generation. Creative and production. Real-time and trigger marketing. Mobile strategies. Direct and digital marketing fundamentals. Cross-channel strategy. Data, measurement and attribution. Retention and loyalty. Brand, social and content marketing. These are the hot topics this year, and over 400 technology partners and solution providers (like XMPie) — and many more marketing experts — will be there to help guide you in the right direction for your business.
- Did I mention XMPie is an exhibitor? Sorry; I couldn’t resist.
Hope to see you there!
By Judy Berlin, director of Worldwide Marketing, XMPie, A Xerox Company
The Internet and mobile communications through smartphones, and ever-more-popular Apple iPads and tablet computers, are altering the landscape of the commerce world. Add social media to the mix and one can see a dramatic empowerment of the individual to influence brands in both positive and negative ways. We also know that customers today are more inclined to use the Web to research and evaluate products and services through mobile and online networks, and this increased role of e-media in the buying process is taking place across all industries.
Does all this mean that print is no longer relevant?
As the director of Worldwide Marketing at XMPie, A Xerox Company, I often receive promotional mail pieces from a variety of sources. The other day, Arie, our IT manager, handed me a mail piece he had received from a most surprising source. Google – the icon of advertising in the online world – sent me a printed coupon with an offer of 200 shekels off a Google Adwords campaign for our company website. Now, if you think about it, despite the fact that Google has a relatively easy-to-implement means of getting their message to us online, they chose to also send a traditional mail piece with a pretty good offer. This is because Google cleverly understands the value of print.
Research shows that print is still a vital component, and when included in an integrated, one-to-one cross-media marketing campaign, it is a force multiplier that generates much better results. In fact, according to Infotrends, marketers today understand this and will, on average, utilize at least three different media types for their campaigns – including print. The winning combination consists of a print component, email, and personalized landing pages, and actually proves to be the most profitable.
Mastering the technologies around online components of a marketing campaign is definitely important, but the value of print as a driving media channel should not be ignored. As mobile and social communications become ever more prevalent and accepted in modern marketing tactics, marketers and their service providers that can reach customers with the right personalized message, using the preferred media channels, including print, will win.
By Larry Zusman, worldwide marketing manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
It seems a surprising place to have the premier direct marketing institute in a university setting, but if you have the good fortune to visit the University of Akron as I did Monday, that is exactly what you will find there.
There in a former warehouse, beautifully transformed into a San Francisco-style creative boutique, you will find an environment specifically designed for teaching, creating and implementing exciting, state-of-the-art direct marketing programs. Led by a team of people that have been doing these campaigns successfully for many years, and supported by the business faculty of the university, this is a quite an amazing facility already, and will be even more impressive when completed very soon.
I found out that the institute, although “housed” at the university, will be much more than a learning center. Rather, it will be a real-world (profit-making), think tank for the development of cutting-edge DM campaigns for companies of all sizes and types. You can think of it as a DM laboratory of sorts, where students will combine the newest 1:1 cross-media direct marketing tools with traditional approaches like focus groups, data profiling, telemarketing, video, and campaign analytics for optimizing results.
I had the opportunity to speak at the Interaction Conference yesterday to a few hundred “hungry” marketers looking for new ideas on how to market their products better, and sell more of them. There were some very interesting conversations at the breaks with marketers experimenting with new technologies to drive interest. One marketer, who directs the Museum of Akron, is planning on placing posters with QR codes at many venues around the city to drive interest in their exhibitions. Clearly, these types of strategies are showing continued growth among both profit and non-profit segments.
Other attendees were very interested in knowing more about how B2B and B2C marketers could use personalized URLs in print campaigns to leverage their use of the Web more effectively. There were other presentations as well, and these were excellent overviews of some of the best strategies for taking full advantage of cross-media marketing and social media. From my conversations at the event, marketers are seeking to learn more about how to use all the tools available to reach customers more effectively, and more directly.
Akron is a city undergoing lots of change – all of it for the good, I hear. Every year, the institute uses the Interaction Conference for a luncheon honoring those that have made a significant contribution to the DM world. I suspect that the Taylor Institute is just the type of garden where more of these talented individuals will bloom. What do you think?