June 7th, 2011
Written by Joel Basa, e-Marketing Manager at Xerox Corporation
Are you left brained or right brained? Not sure (find out here)? For those of you who have been involved in the process of developing direct marketing campaign, you (and your team) probably were required to exercise both sides of your brain (maybe to your dismay).
I recently read Xerox Business Development Tool “Profiting through Personalization II” (featuring XMPie). It is a detailed resource to executing a successful campaign. It also indentifies 6 critical elements for developing a successful variable data/cross-media campaign in a digital printing environment.
- Data Sources
- Call To Action
In my experience on the job, I believe it’s critical to not only look at these elements, but to also have the proper personnel that can excel in that particular element. If you buy into the left/right brain theory, selecting individuals whose “brain-sideness” better matches the elements could be beneficial. I’ll give you my take on each element and assign a “side”.
Strategy – Left AND Right
For me, a strategy requires both the science of data analysis coupled with the art of attractive creative and offer selection. When paired correctly, the primary objective (ex. lead generation) can more likely be accomplished. Collaboration between those that are Left and Right brain is critical to overall success of the strategy.
Data Sources – Left
I would consider Data Sources to be a left brain function. Pattern recognition (such as buying habits, geo-targeting, etc) and analytics is critical to developing the proper audiences which in my opinion allows you to map out the offers, creative and measurements for the campaign.
Offers – Left AND Right
Once again, I believe this element, to be selected optimally, must be the combination of the left and the right brain. Analytics are required to identify feasibility of fulfilling an offer but creativity is required to select offers that are considered attractive based on your targeted audience.
Call to Action – Left OR Right
In my opinion, the call to action can be determined by either Left or Right brain thinkers (but I could be convinced otherwise). Regardless, this element needs to be clear and instruct recipients how to respond.
Creative – Right (but don’t forget about the Left)
Developing impactful creative that leverages technology could make the difference between success and failure. For me, it’s clear that creative development would require those with a Right Brain function. However, don’t forget about the logic (Left Brain Function) behind personalization of the piece.
Measurement – Left
There are various ways to measure the success of your campaign, focusing on the data requires analytics and logic, all which fall into Left brain.
Developing successful Direct Mail campaigns, is it better done by Left Brain individuals or Right? Is it more of an art or more of a science? What are your thoughts?
May 26th, 2011
Written by Barb Anselm, Vice President of the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation at Xerox Corporation
I have the unique privilege to meet with many customers at the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation and discuss what their primary focus is and what area of opportunities they foresee for their business. Over the last several months, it has been interesting to observe more printers focused on workflow and lean document production than ever before.
Dialogue around production workflow has increased over the past few months with workflow being seen as an opportunity that can grow a customer’s business and/or reduce their cost. In my discussions with customers in both in-plant environments and commercial print environments, investing in production workflow is an enabler that streamlines operations and provides print providers better access for their customers. Workflow automation optimizes processes that can result in reduced labor and training…all translating to reduced production cost.
How about lean document production (LDP)? What is it? LDP can be simply put by saying: drive costs down and productivity up. However, LDP is a comprehensive assessment of key operational matters including equipment types and usage, headcount, peak hours, job cycle times and much more to optimize a production environment’s processes. This methodology can manifest itself in value stream mapping or automated document factory but requires an investment of time (and maybe money) by management and the operations staff to properly evaluate their processes.
Workflow and LDP have been hot topics for many of our visiting customers. Even when many printers are reluctant to leave their operations for a day or two, others are attending workshops to make them stronger competitors, better able to serve their customers profitably by looking at production workflow and LDP.
What are your thoughts on production workflow and lean document production? Have you looked at these solutions to differentiate yourself from your competition?
March 15th, 2011
Written by Bert Salter, Business Development Manager
Like most sales-driven companies, EU Services is constantly trying to arm its sales people with up-to-date and relevant information for prospective clients. Now, we all know that sales people can be complainers, particularly about not having the right material needed to send to prospects and customers. Meeting the wants and needs of 13 sales reps – and their personalities – can be quite challenging for any marketing department.
It came as quite a shock when the idea for an on-demand variable brochure solution was embraced by almost the entire sales team. The concept was driven to execution by Cindy Kilgore, Creative Development Manager at EU Services. Knowing all too well the difficulty of keeping up with the moving target of a demanding sales force, she was excited to develop a flexible mail format and ordering solution. It meant reps could finally feature various combinations of services with personalized, on-demand collateral without impacting her department or marketing. We were also enthusiastic to take an “eat your own dog food” approach to the innovative marketing we offer to our clients.
After interviewing the sales reps and gathering a rather long wish list of how a solution for rep-customized and personalized marketing pieces would work, she sprang into action. Working closely with both the Sales, Marketing and MIS departments, the brochure and ordering process took shape over a period of 4 months. The end result is a variable digitally printed 11 x 17 brochure that each sales person can send to contacts in the company CRM system. The brochure highlights EU Services’ direct mail capabilities and supporting services and solutions. Each piece features one main solution, which is selected by the sales rep, and up to 3 supporting ones. The brochure offers an area for a customized “sticky” note, sales rep information (with optional photo), and the ability to select a client testimonial related to the vertical market or solution targeted. The piece also contains personalized cover imagery highlighting the recipient’s name, which is what shows through the full picture window of a 9×12 envelope.
The Brochures can be ordered by the sales team for brochures printed – and mailed, if desired – within 24 hours. They can choose from multiple delivery options including PDF via email, delivery straight to the rep or directly to mail. After orders are placed, the brochures are created using the XMPie composition engine and are produced early each morning on our Xerox iGen3. The best part is that sales reps are actually using this collateral to market to customers every day. It’s a miracle! Future plans are to add to the site a multitude of letters and other resources to include in the mailings that are sent out.
EU Services will be joining both Xerox and XMPie at Direct Marketing Day at Your Desk, an online tradeshow that you can attend today from the comfort of your desk. To attend, simply click here and register.
February 17th, 2011
Written by Howie Fenton
Hi, my name is Howie Fenton and I am a guest blogger for Xerox. As you may know, I am not “on staff” at Xerox. I am a consultant with NAPL specializing in workflow and digital printing. For me, blogging is more of a hobby than a job but like many people, I am just as passionate about my hobby as I am my job.
I find engaging in conversations through blogs fun and somewhat addicting. I look forward to sharing some ideas and I hope to engage you in the conversation. I can’t think of a more engaging subject than the PSP-MSP (Print Services Provider to Marketing Services Provider) controversy.
The motivation is simple but the concept has created quite the debate. The printing industry is struggling with cyclical and structural changes, which is reducing the demand for printed products and changing the products offered. The cyclical change is tied to the economy, while the structural changes are from technologies that are disruptive to the printing industry such as the Internet/email, cell phones, and e-books among others.
Clearly, the greatest issue is the threat of substitute products and services from sources such as computers, the internet, cell phones, and laser printers and copiers. One way to overcome this threat is to create new solutions that do not have a comparable threat of substitution. Variable data printing is one example of a product that has existed for years but more recently companies have started to offer other products that might be considered more of a marketing service than a printer service.
Among these new solutions are email marketing, Purls, SMS (texts), social media marketing and QR codes. As companies evolve and offer these marketing and value-added services, this trend has been coined the PSP-MSP transition.
This trend has created some fans and some critics. You may have read about this when Margie Dana the founder of Print Buyers International wrote in her blog, “I’ve had it with printing companies masquerading as marketing solutions providers…Who’s the cluck behind this movement, anyway? Do you really think that print customers, creatives and corporate marketing managers won’t eventually find out that you’re a manufacturer? Why are you hiding it, anyway? You’re not ashamed of being a printer, are you?”
I heard this loud and clear almost a year ago at NAPL’s Top Management Conference. During one panel discussion with print buyers, a few print buyers said they were not interested or happy that printers were offering or branding themselves as marketing service providers.
Clearly, there are many sides to this story. Which side are you on? Should printers offer marketing services? Should printers brand themselves as marketing providers?
January 13th, 2011
2011 is here and how quickly it came. With 2010 behind us, it is time for many businesses to start planning and/or executing a game plan to help build upon the momentum that was created in 2010. Gina Testa, vice president of Graphic Communications Industry for Xerox, took a moment in a Ready for Real Business video to suggest how to grow your business with minimal investment. Here are a few suggestions:
Meet With Your Top Customers
The #1 priority in early 2011 is to sit with your top customers. Many of them have established their budgets, their marketing communication’s plan –how can you become a partner in accomplishing their business objectives?
The Buzz of Cross Media Services
You provide print services but how can you position yourself to become more than a print service provider and more of a full service provider? Ask yourself, what can I offer to be a full service marketing provider? Take a close look at Cross Media Services.
Are Investments Needed?
Your customers may have different priorities and requirements for 2011, are you equipped to meet these requirements? Are investments needed in new skillsets? New software? New technology?
What are your plans for 2011 and how are you going about creating your strategy to grow your business in 2011?
December 15th, 2010
The highest value print work usually involves variable information, yet less than 10 percent of all digital printing is variable, according to Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Emeritus Frank Romano.
Progressive Communications, based near Orlando, Fla., is working to buck that trend. In a little more than two years after initiating digital color printing, more than 85 percent of the firm’s 1-million-plus monthly digital color pages were variable. Today I wanted to share with you how they’ve made the leap so quickly.
Seeking ‘More Bang for the Buck’
Like many traditional printers, by mid-decade Progressive felt the economic pinch. “Our customers were cutting their marketing budgets, print runs and mailings,” said Gabe Hernandez, general manager, Progressive Communications. “We wanted something that could give us more bang for our buck, so we started looking at digital printing.”
This wasn’t the first time Progressive had explored new directions. Founded in 1975 as a newsletter production company, the firm evolved into a commercial printer and became a full-service print, fulfillment, direct marketing and multimedia design operation with two 2002 acquisitions. Today, Progressive has 220 employees and is a division of printing and marketing services company Taylor Corporation.
Their digital color exploration began in 2007 with the acquisition of a Xerox® DocuColor® 242 Digital Color Printer/Copier. “We responded to the opportunity in partnership with Xerox, because we want to be more than ink on paper,” Hernandez said. “We want to provide solutions to our customers to help them increase their sales.”
Progressive already had many of the skills required for digital color variable information success. A 12-member design department regularly wins awards for direct marketing and promotional pieces, and Progressive’s data team routinely programmed basic black-and-white personalization. By adding a person experienced in Xerox’s XMPie software, the firm could execute a wide range of personalized direct marketing programs.
Tapping into Xerox Business Development Support
For help in selling and marketing the new services, Progressive turned to a Xerox Business Development Consultant, who worked with them for three months while providing consultative sales training and also helped develop a marketing plan using the Xerox® Marketing Accelerator Kit. This professional support service is offered by Xerox to help organizations operate at peak efficiency, and Progressive took full advantage.
To ease entry into the somewhat recession-proof healthcare and education markets they targeted, Progressive used the Xerox® ProfitAccelerator® vertical market kits and landed several new clients. And they referenced the Xerox® ProfitAccelerator Open House Kit to plan ongoing “Summer School” educational seminars, promoting its services to prospects and clients.
In addition to the campaign work they do for clients, Progressive also regularly runs self-promotion campaigns. A recent multi-touch effort used a PURL to offer a calendar with images incorporating the prospect’s name in exchange for filling out a questionnaire on their marketing needs. Results included a 17 percent response rate, a 68 percent conversion rate, more than 20 one-off jobs and several ongoing communications programs. In addition, this campaign helped Progressive win the Best Overall Solution Award in the 2010 Xerox Best-of-the-Best contest.
Focus on Personalization
With so much preparation, Progressive quickly grew its digital color business. In just six months, they needed a larger press and acquired a Xerox® iGen3® 110 Digital Production Press. A year later, they added a second, and subsequently upgraded both to Xerox® iGen4® Presses.
“Initially we thought we would just do short-run, quick-turn static work,” Hernandez said. “But since we had the ability to produce truly personalized pieces that get better results, we said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ We discovered that many of our customers were gathering data on their customers’ demographics but weren’t using it—until we helped them.”
Digital color has driven growth at Progressive in two ways. First, while offset has slipped from 95 percent of the shop’s print volume three years ago to 80 percent today, digital has grown to 20 percent, with about half of it coming from new clients. In addition, digital drives more work in other Progressive divisions. Some 95 percent of digital jobs use Progressive mailing services compared to 50 percent with offset, and 80 percent are designed by Progressive’s creative team, compared to 25 percent with offset. The cross-selling of services opened up through digital has proven to be extremely profitable for Progressive.
By 2015, Hernandez believes that half of Progressive’s business will be color variable printing, in which case, Progressive is not just bucking a trend; it is leading one.
December 9th, 2010
Welcome! Come on in and make yourself at home! Feel free to take your shoes off or leave them on – whatever makes you comfortable. And please help yourself to a slice of birthday cake on the table!
Some people have extravagant celebrations, others prefer to turn their birthday into a week-long festivity…but here at the Digital Printing Hot Spot, we have decided to celebrate our one-year birthday all month long! (…although the cake may not last)
So what does our one-year birthday really represent, and what’s up with the silly cake, you may ask? I am very excited to say that with this birthday we are celebrating our commitment to you, our customers, as this marks a full year of delivering you tips and helpful information to get the most out of your production print equipment. Our goal is to help you meet your business objectives and succeed, while making your day-to-day operations run as smooth as possible.
Through the sharing of success stories, industry trends, best practices, technology, workflow efficiencies, and much more – we truly hope that when you visit this site, you are able to walk away (or close out of your browser) with a helpful piece of information previously unbeknownst to you. We know that you face business challenges that keep you up at night. Our objective is to equip you with all the necessary information to help you best handle these challenges.
In our one-year of existence, we have shared many exciting success stories of customers much like yourself, discussed many fascinating issues within the industry, and shed light to various best practices and helpful tips.
In case you’ve missed some, here’s just a small sampling of a few of the many stories that have been shared:
• Digital packaging opportunities
• How to design for digital
• Tips for printing on textured stocks
• How to design for Clear Dry Ink with the Xerox Color 800/1000 Press
• Running lightweight paper on your Continuous Feed device
• An award-winning 100% variable magazine
• Book printing: It’s easy being green
• Achieving new levels of productivity with automation
• Front-to-Back registration suggestions
• The story of a digital printer banking €150,000 a month with digital book venture
I would really like to take an opportunity to thank you, our readers; because if it wasn’t for you consistently visiting this blog and providing us with great feedback, we wouldn’t be able to share this very special birthday celebration with you right now!
If you are interested in keeping up-to-date with our latest stories, please subscribe to this blog and/or follow us on Twitter (@XeroxProduction)!
And what would a birthday celebration be without gifts?! We have an assortment of giveaways that we’d love to share with you, including: Print Providers Guide to Social Media written by Peter Muir, ProfitAccelerator Data-Driven Print Book, a Customizable Calendar Kit, ProfitAccelerator Individualized Media Essentials Book, and a Best-of-the-Best case study/success story book. Quantities are limited and will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To receive one of these fantastic resources, please comment and let us know what information you find helpful from this blog and what topics you’d be interested in hearing about as we begin the exciting journey towards our second-birthday!
Thank you for stopping by and celebrating with us!