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 email@example.com.
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 Christine Winter, PR/marketing programs manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Today is my 25th birthday. Yes, I know. Your reaction was probably something like “Oh my goodness…you’re such a baby,” or “Good for you! Your car insurance premium will go down now.”
I’m not telling you this because I want you to send me a card or gift like my grandma did, call and sing to me like one of my co-workers did, take me out to lunch like my future father-in-law did, write on my Facebook wall like 56 of my friends did (and counting), take me shopping like my future husband is going to later, or take me out to dinner tonight like my mom and brother will….although all of these things are awesome and much appreciated. The fact is, I just don’t expect you to know that it’s my birthday. But if you do, I think it’s very smart to use that information to market to me.
You see, I’m a sucker for email lists because I crave deals. In fact, I have an email account dedicated to what most people consider “junk mail” because I hate going anywhere or shopping for anything without using a coupon. And I love it when a store or restaurant I visit often knows what I like and buy, and lets me know when it’s on sale.
But even if you are like many who don’t appreciate the constant email blasts, I think you would agree that there are some occasions where you’d make an exception – like your birthday!
So, I’d like to send out some kudos to Red Robin, Old Navy, Uno Chicago Grill, T.G.I. Friday’s, Panera Bread, Redbox, Cirque du Soleil…and I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting…for sending me emails today and over the course of the past couple of weeks to wish me a happy birthday and offer me everything from a free dessert and a free movie to $15 off my next purchase. I appreciate your intelligent, relevant 1:1 marketing, and you can bet that I’ll probably be taking advantage of your offer and coming back in the future!
By Judy Berlin, worldwide marketing manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
There’s no doubt that reaching consumers in today’s Information Age requires new techniques – and a major shift from mass marketing to direct marketing has occurred. It used to be sufficient to advertise your business anywhere and everywhere, hoping that people would notice you and that your hard work would pay off. But actually, this “spray and pray” method of marketing made us move away from personal interactions and is no longer effective, as people are starting to expect one-to-one communications again. Why? They are simply bombarded by information, so they tune out the messages that are not relevant to them and their specific interests. Taking into account not only what consumers want, but also providing it at the precise moment when they want it, can lead to greater brand awareness and sales.
Although this type of individual attention seems a daunting task in today’s fast-paced, digital environment, it is possible and even practical to scale this business wisdom and efficiently apply it to the masses. Because in addition to broadcast media, technology and other channels now exist (i.e. digital printing, email, Internet, mobile, social media, variable data and cross-media software, data mining, analytics, etc.) that enable you to engage in ongoing, one-to-one communications with each of your customers.
Take variable data printing (VDP) for example. VDP, as defined by worldwide document technology strategy and consulting firm, InfoTrends, is a form of on-demand digital printing that produces customized or personalized documents targeted to an individual. Within a single document design, elements such as text, graphics, and images are changed from one printed page to the next based on recipient information from a database.
Many print service providers (PSPs) are providing some type of VDP service and have been for quite a while. It is not something new, but it has come a long way. A VDP solution from a leading software provider like XMPie, allows PSPs to work with familiar design tools and file formats, and utilize simple data files, to incorporate all the demographic, geographic, and psychographic information they know about their customers (i.e. name, address, occupation, age, gender, interests, hobbies, spending habits, etc.) into their direct mail campaigns in clever, relevant ways that get noticed. InfoTrends research and existing case studies confirm that doing so yields higher margins, creates new revenue streams, and drives more volume to digital presses.
But what’s even more exciting to consider is that more and more PSPs are extending their personalization knowledge and capabilities to other channels, such as websites, email and mobile messaging. The key is to start with what you know and grow from there. Clearly, you need to have a foundation in VDP before jumping into the more advanced cross-media capabilities. But if you realize that this is where you need to go, and are willing to make the right investments in technology, people, and possibly partnerships or acquisitions, there are few limitations on what you can sell and deliver to customers.
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!
The results of a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive for Xerox Corporation confirm what we’ve been saying for years—people are more likely to respond to information and offers that are relevant to them and their specific interests, and are communicated through the channels they are comfortable with. This is especially important for marketers to consider carefully during the holiday season, when advertising soars and shopping activity peaks.
It all comes down to this…
Prior to the advent of broadcast media channels, such as radio, television, newspapers, etc., intimate relationships between business owners and their customers were practiced and managed very successfully for generations. Somehow that intimacy was lost along the way. It’s not that business leaders forgot about the value of individual relationships. It’s the fact that they saw no practical way to scale this business wisdom and apply it to the masses—efficiently—through the media channels that were available at the time.
But now, in addition to broadcast media channels, technology exists (i.e. digital printing, email, Internet, mobile, social media, variable data and cross-media software, data mining, analytics, etc.) that enables us to have customer relationships like people used to have with their corner grocers, and people are starting to expect this one-to-one communication more and more.
Take Target for example. The retail chain built individual shopper profiles from data gathered from credit card purchases, and Web and email interactions of 2 million customers. Then they designed and distributed personalized self-mailers featuring products and coupons based on each recipient’s previous purchases. The results: double-digit response rates, a 50 percent lift over previous static direct-mail pieces, and a 30 percent savings in operations costs.
So, don’t get lost among the flurry of sales promotions about to hit every consumer this holiday season. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, and give your customers the individual attention they want (and deserve). Here are some tips to keep in mind when developing that next 1:1 cross-media campaign.
By Larry Zusman, worldwide marketing manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Although I spent most of my time the past few days in the XMPie booth at the DMA Annual Conference and Exhibition demonstrating our new Video Personalization solution as another component of integrated cross-media marketing, I also got the chance to walk around and network with many attending marketing professionals. Here are my observations.
It seems quite clear that print, email, Web, mobile, and even voice technologies are becoming so advanced, that they are becoming somewhat inconsequential. What I mean is that with untold numbers of companies involved in what could be defined as the “Cross-Media Marketing Landscape,” the real differentiators must come from more than just the technology.
As I walked around the show, it appeared at first glance that everyone is doing exactly the same thing. But, of course, that is not the case, as those that have flourished must be offering some type of unique selling proposition to their customers. The trick to finding what is inside their hat, so to speak, is to look for that magical formula for success. I believe that with most firms, in addition to them having the perfect solution to create relevance in their cross-media marketing, their unique value lies within the data strategy, gathering, and intelligence behind these communications. Those thriving are more than just cross-media marketing companies that can use variable data, images, graphics, and video. Rather, these are firms that have perfected the capture and analysis of data to understand the who, what, where, and most important, why of purchase behavior – past, present and future.
Through using this intelligence to drive integrated cross-media marketing campaigns with relevant print, email, Web, mobile, and now video content, these messages can break through the usual marketing clutter and evoke response and action. In short, it is the data that drives the decision. For those involved in cross-media marketing, it illuminates the need to develop campaigns that capture critical customer information, use it to generate highly-individualized communications, and track and analyze the results for optimal ROI.
Another important observation is that technologies must be viewed on a continuum of marketing tools. Clearly they are evolving at a never before anticipated pace, and as such, the value of the technology is much more important than the details. For example, lots of companies are using QR codes for their campaigns – they are an excellent tool for linking print to personal mobile sites (PURLs) – but it’s more important to view this “category” as technologies that bridge offline and online communications. By looking at it this way, you can leverage the concept with a wide selection of technology choices. For example, with the rise in mobile, voice systems and geo-location systems can also be used to bridge various modes of communications and can be factored into the cross-media mix.
DMA2011 had many themes, but perhaps the one that rang out the loudest, and was the main focus of Xerox CMO Christa Carone’s keynote speech on Sunday, is this: the world of direct marketing as we know it is morphing into something very different, in which all forms of media will become more convergent, direct, relevant, and in fact, intimate. What is most important for us all to remember is that as technology advances, and ways to communicate are introduced that we have not even dreamed about, the same marketing strategy will always remain – the more customers we can reach with content that grabs their attention, gets understood, and generates a positive response, the more we will sell, grow and profit.
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!