By Larry Zusman, worldwide marketing manager at XMPie, A Xerox Company
Last week I had the pleasure of attending and participating in the Xerox Focus Forward event in Orlando. This is one of many that are being conducted around the country, and the audience is split between print and marketing service providers and those interested in enterprise managed print services. About 140 customers attended this event. The good news is that I came away feeling like I was NOT at a typical industry event. This is a different type of venue than I have seen in the past – and to be honest – it is a very refreshing change.
The day started out with a keynote from Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company. Bill stood in front of the audience – all 140 people – and did not use ONE PowerPoint slide, ONE video, ONE picture. Nothing! It was just Bill, talking to folks about why originality, creativity and innovative thinking are what make the difference between great companies and not-so-great ones.
As is the case with every speech from the movers and shakers in the industry, there were a couple of phrases that carried the day, and stories that will resonate with me and others for a long time. One of those was that R & D, according to Bill, stands for “Rip-Off and Duplicate.” The point he made – namely that R & D must create new ideas, new ways of doing things, and that original thinking needs to be a fabric of the company, its employees, marketing, sales and, of course, branding – is an important lesson for an audience of print service providers looking for a way to differentiate themselves and gain competitive advantages.
To make the point, he told the story of DaVita, a company that started as a stodgy kidney dialysis company, like others, and reinvented itself into top condition (while significantly increasing its bottom line) – a vibrant, unique, customer-focused, employee-loving firm that truly embodied its new name that means in Italian “to give life.” When he finished, everyone got the point that the way to bring a shaky, less-than-well company to sustainable, good health, is with original, out-of-the-box thinking.
Once Bill was done, the audience was divided into the production and managed services tracks. I attended production, and it was in this session where I was introduced to a new way to liven up a day-long event. Since you are going to have various guests with different topics, and are planning on sprinkling in company commercials and videos from your guests, why not borrow The Tonight Show’s format? After all, there are guests, and each one comes with a video trailer for their movie or TV show. So that is exactly what Xerox did. And they did it with no PowerPoint slides of any kind. At first, it felt like some strange alien planet where the word Microsoft is unknown and the inhabitants actually engage in interactive dialogue. But after about five seconds, I got very used to it – and enjoyed every minute afterwards.
Industry experts provided their industry expertise (it’s what they do). Xerox partner companies talked about the importance of workflow (it’s a critical part of printing]. And well-thought-out customer panels with the folks that are realizing success were interspersed throughout the program, offering insights to print providers on how to effectively move from PSP to MSP, value price their offerings, and grow their business with new services like variable data print and one-to-one cross-media marketing. I was fortunate enough to be part of one of the liveliest panels of the day focusing on the newest applications. It included a demonstration of the power of printing digital photos with Xerox presses in personalized calendars and wide panoramic image books; how Web-to-print solutions specially designed for print providers can link Facebook pictures and other data with print; specialty media applications, such as personalized FunFlips™ and AccordianPix™, and how the new XMPie video personalization solution can literally be the “icing on the cake” in a multichannel campaign.
Also introduced on this panel was a short video, for those who could not get to drupa, of the new XMPie Circle™ Software as a Service solution. This interactive, digital storyboard for planning, building and reviewing a campaign is designed to help everyone sell, create and implement cross-media campaigns. For a moment (a very brief one), I felt like George Clooney introducing the trailer to his newest picture to Jay Leno.
The content sounds like a typical event, but with the talk show format where the very talented Brian Walsh plays a fun, engaging and appropriately self-deprecating host, it makes for an entertaining afternoon – which by the way is pretty darn educational, too. The only thing missing is Johnny Carson’s “Carnac,” who, if you’re old enough to remember, you will know really was the best host ever. The rest of the hosts are really into “R & D.”
However you want to define it, Focus Forward in Orlando was a day to move forward and focus on what matters most, namely business creativity, knowledge of the market, and making the right solution choices. And that means that you need to get to one of these as soon as you can, instead of holding up envelopes to your forehead for the right answers.
By Larry Zusman, worldwide marketing manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
The Cleveland House of Blues is a very cool venue for a presentation. That goes without saying. But when you add a room full of attendees at a ‘Lunch ‘N Learn’ that are hungry for the keys to success in cross-media marketing, you have just the right harmony for a successful event.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting and speaking with some of our prospects and customers in the Cleveland Ohio area. It was an eclectic bunch to say the least. There were commercial printers, digital printers, creatives, in-plant managers and marketing professionals — pretty much the entire spectrum of the industry.
The subject of the day was “25 Ways in 25 Minutes to Make Money with Cross-Media Services.” The purpose of the event was to educate attendees on the critical success factors in starting and maintaining a value-added-based business consisting of variable data digital print and cross-media marketing services. On the corporate marketing and in-plant side, the approach was to provide insight into what they can now do in the guise of fully-integrated cross-media campaigns. The topics spanned a wide variety of strategies and technologies that can add more revenue and profit to enterprises and the providers who service them. Subjects included integrated cross-media marketing, mobile marketing, PURLS and RURLS, social media, QR codes, tracking/analytics, and email marketing with image personalization.
What got everyone’s attention was when I showed them the latest technology from XMPie in video personalization. They were excited about the opportunity to use Adobe After Effects with the XMPie solution and create cinematic-quality movies. One customer wanted to know how difficult it was to create the videos if you knew After Effects at a basic level. When they found out it as simple as connecting the variable data to the content using a simple XMPie software plug-in, they were ready to jump right in!
With the interest level of the attendees, it is clear that cross-media marketing, and the services associated with it, will continue to be a hot topic in the coming year. For providers who are looking for growth in 2012 with these offerings, it is the perfect time to evaluate the right solution for your business, implement it across your organization, and assemble the best team to deliver it.
I leave you with my one regret on this event. I really should have worn my John Belushi Blues Brother’s black suit with the super thin tie. But thinking twice on this, it never would have fit anyway.
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.
With the explosive popularity of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other such sites in recent years, it has become clear that the new model for business communication is in the dialogue and not the monologue.
CMO’s are quickly realizing that there is no longer a place for the simplistic, one-way conversations that marketing practitioners have depended upon so heavily in past. We all know there is a sophisticated sector of digital baby boomers that will soon become the major consumers of tomorrow. We will have no choice, but to participate in this playground of interactive digital content, if we want to survive.
With this fundamental shift in consumer behavior, the need for one-to-one personalization in traditional marketing communications is more acute than ever. The clever integration of technology, creative content and personal interaction is that powerful combination that will allow us to redefine the way we communicate.
We all agree that the conversations need to be customer-centric and authentic. But therein lies the dilemma. As much as we would like, in most circumstances it is simply not logistically possible for companies to reach out to each individual customer, one-on-one. And this is where technology can help. The idea of ‘one-to-one’ is really ‘one-to-many,’ where each one thinks that they are the only one.
So the real question is – how do we efficiently manage individual conversations and interactions, along both axes of time and media? It’s not simple and many companies are wrestling with this “cross media” challenge.
One significant clue is that we see time and again, that an integrated solution for one-to-one publishing is critical to achieve a successful cross-media strategy. The holy grail of cross-media publishing is the ability to communicate with consumers across the spectrum of print and digital media channels with consistent messages that are relevant to the individual recipient in terms of content, presentation, timeliness, and channel.
Only an integrated system could provide the overall event-tracking , analysis and feedback loop capabilities needed to set the stage for an improved dialogue with targeted messages. In today’s customer-centric environment, no marketer should settle for anything less.