By Ayelet Szabo-Melamed
Product Marketing Manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company

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As 2014 comes to an end, chances are you’re starting to think about the New Year as it relates to work, family and friends. What’s my New Year’s resolution? How can I work toward my life goals? But not only is the New Year a great time to improve one’s personal life, it’s also an ideal time for businesses to focus on positive changes, too.

The New Year can bring fresh opportunities for print service providers (PSPs) and the print industry, in general. In InfoTrends’ latest investment survey (2014), about 75 percent of respondents indicated they believe that print providers need to become marketing services providers. Why? Because in a time when print volumes and margins are under pressure, cross-media marketing provides an opportunity for print providers to turn the tide, offer services that make their customers meet their communication goals more effectively, and come back for more. And since 49 percent of InfoTrends business survey respondents said that improving the customer experience is their organization’s top priority for 2015, cross-media marketing offerings become even more of a focus.

PSPs can now stand out even further from the competition all while improving their customers’ experience by augmenting print campaigns with an integrated, personalized, cross-media experience. Here are five cross-media trends you’ll see more of in the coming year:

1. Leverage Personalized URLs (PURLs)

Any marketer looking to engage and build a long-term relationship with their customers should consider PURLs. PURLs are an excellent way to increase response rates and return on marketing investment (ROMI). Simply adding a PURL to a personalized print piece drives recipients to more valuable information. PURLs make this process quicker and easier and, along with the additional personalized design features and the inclusion of a targeted special offer, enhance customer experience and perception of a brand.

2. Embrace Marketing Automation

In the marketing world, we’re seeing the emergence of an exciting new era of “all things digital” that will require a change of mindset and skillset for marketers and service providers alike. As a result, ongoing relevant customer communications that are personalized across different media channels, including print – will be more critical for marketing success than ever before. And the key to successfully deploy such massively individualized dialogs can only be done through automation.

3. Utilize Personalized Video

Video has a unique place in the marketing mix since video content is easily digestible and ideal for communicating complex details in a simple manner. Best of all, minimal effort is required by the target recipient. Combine the power of video with the benefits of personalization and virtually all types of customer data can be displayed creatively to produce the most relevant viewer experience. This can include cinematic-quality visual effects through variable text, personalized still images, special effects and animated video.

4. Offer Cross Media Campaigns That Can Be Ordered via Web Portal

Web-to-print is transforming the print industry, bringing with it a host of benefits for print providers such as generating business during off hours, strengthening customer relationships, ensuring brand control, expanding market reach, centralizing administration and maximizing efficiency. Through these benefits, PSPs are able to offer their customers more – guaranteeing production of what they need and when they need it.

5. Don’t Forget About Variable Data Printing (VDP)

Many PSPs offer 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.

Opéra De Montréal is already taking advantage of these trends using XMPie software, which allows marketers to leverage customer data to create relevant, personalized one-to-one marketing campaigns, with variable text, styles and images across print, web, email and mobile platforms.

Make these cross-media trends part of your New Year’s resolution and catalyze your launch into 2015.