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 Frannie Garvey, operations manager, XMPie Users Group
In the coming month, XMPie Users will be gathering to learn the latest knowledge and trends within cross-media communications at the XMPie Users Group Annual Conference in Boston. Will you be joining them? It’s not too late to register for this exciting event that brings together the best in the industry.
XMPie Users Group Conference
September 9– 12
- Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox Chief Technology Officer and President of the Xerox Innovation Group, will deliver a keynote session, “Knowledge Work in 2020: Are You Ready?”
- Three educational tracks for technical, design, and marketing professionals
- Sessions featuring the XMPie management and technology teams, Adobe, InfoTrends, fellow customers, industry professionals and partners
- Networking opportunities to connect with other XMPie users and customers
- Pre-conference tutorials providing deep-dives on programming and designing with the XMPie solutions
- Picking up where the Best of the Best Awards left off, the Xcellence Awards will be presented at the conference, showcasing attendees’ marketing campaigns that display the best practices and growing trends within cross-media communications
Download a copy of the agenda to review all of the great sessions planned!
Non Member Registration Rate: $895 USD
BEST VALUE! Member Registration Discounted Rate: $595 USD
Additional Pre-Conference Tutorials: $249 USD
Reserve your spot today to meet, interact and learn from the best!
Join us at The Revere Hotel Boston Common and take advantage of our discounted room rate of $209 a night if you reserve by Monday, August 27th. To receive this special attendee rate you must book online with the code “XMPie,” or call the hotel directly at +1 855 OREVERE (855-673-8373).
For more information on travel, transportation, local attractions and weather, click here.
We look forward seeing you in Boston!
As if you didn’t have enough reasons to come to the 2012 Conference, I received this email from the XMPie Users Group today:
“We have exciting news to share: Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox Chief Technology Officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group, will deliver a keynote session, Knowledge Work in 2020: Are You Ready?, at the 2012 XMPie Users Group Conference! Dr. Vandebroek is responsible for overseeing Xerox’s research centers in Europe, Asia, Canada and the US as well as the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC Inc.).
During this session, Dr. Vandebroek will discuss how a confluence of multiple trends is quickly changing the nature of knowledge work. Businesses and individuals must adapt rapidly to succeed. A new framework and several scenarios of knowledge work in the year 2020 that go beyond the typical considerations of automation and globalization will be presented. The evolution of four dimensions is described: (1) technology, (2) information, (3) people, and (4) organizations. This comprehensive perspective helps analyze all aspects of knowledge work: sourcing, organization, training, execution, management, and evaluation.
As these aspects change, both businesses and individuals will be faced with new challenges and opportunities. Will they be ready? Some adaptations will come naturally; others are more counter intuitive and will require conscious preparation. Examples will be discussed which are already observable today and give advice on how one can prepare for the future.
Other exciting sessions scheduled for the 2012 conference include:
- XMPie President’s Keynote Address and Technology Update – Dr. Jacob Aizikowitz, XMPie Inc.
- Adobe Creative Suite 6 and Cross Media Campaigns – Adobe
- The State of the Multi-Channel Market: How Mobile, Social and Cloud Computing Drive Marketing Forward – Stephanie Pieruccini, Senior Research Analyst, InfoTrends
- XMPie New Products Session – XMPie Products Team
- Adobe PDF Workflows and Imaging in Support of PDF/VT – Adobe
Register today to ensure you do not miss this opportunity to hear from Dr. Vandebroek, Dr. Jacob Aizikowitz, Adobe, the XMPie experts, and your fellow customers!”
So, what are you waiting for? Or if you’re already registered to attend, what are you looking forward to most?
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 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 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 Christine Winter, PR/Marketing Programs Manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Wow! That’s the first word that comes to my mind as I sit here reflecting on my first drupa experience, because ‘wow’ is a word that encompasses my many emotions from those 13 days – joy, happiness, pride, surprise, excitement, appreciation, hope, exhaustion, relief, gratification…
My feelings of joy, happiness and pride come from all that I saw the Xerox and XMPie team accomplish at this show. Before coming to drupa, I could only imagine how much effort and teamwork it would take to put together and run an exhibition of this size. Now I know.
For starters, the sales and marketing personnel had been working for months and months to coordinate all the logistics, promotions and customer experiences. The XMPie product, research and development team worked tirelessly to prepare new software versions and applications to showcase at the trade fair…and what a reaction they got!
uStore 6.0 was a big hit with its new features, including the ability for store customers to upload static Microsoft® Word, PowerPoint and PDF files, combine them with other uploaded documents and/or documents that are available in the store catalog, choose a binding method, and see a 3D preview.
Another new development that was introduced at the show and gained a lot of interest was our exciting new uStore Facebook Connector application, which allows brand/company pages to link to their XMPie uStore storefront via a Facebook app so that their fans can order company-branded, printed materials. The sample product we showcased was a perpetual calendar that included the birthdays and pictures of each individual’s Facebook friends. It was exciting to watch it go viral, gain XMPie over 100 new fans, and drive traffic to the Xerox 770 Digital Color Press on-site!
But perhaps the newest innovation that drew the largest crowd was XMPie Circle: The Digital Storyboard for 1:1 Multichannel Campaigns. During the first week, we ran live shows in the XMPie 1:1 Cinema Theatre every 30 minutes, and nearly every show was a full house! Circle is a SaaS solution for collaborating on, sketching, planning, building, reviewing and monitoring multichannel, individualized communications campaigns. And with its highly-visual campaign flow diagramming tools, intuitive user interface, and ability to seamlessly connect with the XMPie uProduce™ production engine, the feedback we got was that it would undoubtedly improve the way our customers work with their customers – making it easier for everyone to understand and sell the power of personalized cross-media campaigns.
On another note, my surprise, excitement and appreciation comes from the quality time we got to spend with our customers and prospects from all around the world, the several XMPie applications that were running on almost every Xerox press, and of course, the 36 Cirque du Soleil shows I got to watch over the course of the show in the Xerox booth.
But now, still with hope for new and revitalized customer relationships over the next few weeks as a result of our presence at drupa, the exhaustion has set in. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved that I’m finally home (after making a quick stop in Paris), but overall, drupa was a great experience. I’m very pleased to have had the opportunity participate in the show and spend time in Düsseldorf with my colleagues….many of whom I had met for the first time.
Now I suppose it’s time to start planning for Graph Expo!
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!