Shifting from CCM to CXM: What Does This Mean for Direct Marketing?

Are you part of the transformation?

“Today’s rapidly changing technological landscape is also reshaping the market. Instant access to relevant information, personalized experiences on a preferred channel, and consistent communications in terms of style, branding, and tone-of-voice have become crucial elements of superior CX and all three of the primary dynamics behind CCM’s evolution share one thing in common: They are designed to enable business users to improve CX for the end consumer.”

Will Morgan wrote those words about the evolution of customer communications management (CCM) to customer experience management (CXM) in a 2020 What They Think series of articles.

We are increasingly CX led. Our customer outreach is increasingly CX focused.

How can the transactional printing industry embrace the CXM led revolution? And what is CCM’s role now?

The Meet Up is August 18, at 4pm and you can register at this link.

✅ How has COVID changed Customer Experience and what is CCM’s value in the post-COVID world of CXM?

✅ What is the impact of direct marketing converging with CCM?

✅ Does leveraging direct marketing strategies within transactional business communications set the stage for privacy concerns?

We invite you to share your insights into how CCM and CXM and we share our own practical recommendations on providing the best possible customer experiences in transactional printing.

Sign up here!

Subscribe to Xplor International updates.

PODCAST: 30 Minutes with the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse!

Last week I had the privilege of being interviewed by Deborah Corn, internationally known as the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse. You can check her our at

As always, I had a great time.

Check out the podcast to hear about what’s new at XPLOR21, being held in St. Pete Beach, November 16-18th as well as some insights into the status of Xplor as it navigates the pandemic.

Until next time! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

TRANSPROMO Using Video: Deliver Marketing Messages and Increase Revenue with Personalized Video

Why is video more important now than ever before? How can the transactional printing industry USE video?

Digital customer journeys have a key glaring gap; providing personalized education for each and every customer to help them progress with confidence in choosing their financial products. Using a combination of real-time interactivity, math and logic processing, and visual storytelling, customers can make better financial decisions at all points in the customer journey.

Essential customer communications, such as statements and bills, can be the most successful — and cost-effective — way to deliver marketing messages and increase revenue. You all know that.

But how many of your customers are including video to reach out to their audience? BlueRush based in Toronto and Montreal, is a leader in video marketing and customer communications, and leading the conversation at Xplor Canada’s July 2021 Virtual Meet Up on Thursday, July 22, at 4pm. Register here:

Join us, ask questions, and participate in the conversation – at this month’s Xplor Canada virtual meetup. We will discuss:

  • Leveraging video within customer communications
  • How to use highly personalized video
  • Best practices for using video to engage customers

Sign up here!

And don’t forget to subscribe to Xplor for the latest in multi-channel client, member and customer communications.

An Interview with Roger P. Gimbel, EDP, President and CEO of Gimbel & Associates

By: Skip Henk, President/CEO of Xplor International

I recently had a chance to catch up with a longtime Xplor supporter and our newest Elite sponsor, Roger Gimbel of Gimbel & Associates.

Roger has been involved with Xplor for almost 25 years as a frequent speaker at Xplor events. He received his Electronic Document Professional (EDP), certification 21 years ago. He recently decided to participate in the Xplor Elite Sponsor program so I wanted get to know a little bit more of what Gimbel & Associates does, a bit of history and Roger’s views on the direction of the industry.

Skip:  Roger, I would like to thank you for both personally and on behalf of Xplor International for your support over the years and now as a Platinum Elite associates sponsor and Diamond Conference Sponsor.

Roger:  Roger:  I am happy to have the opportunity this year to enhance our relationship with Xplor as the association has been a valuable resource of information for personal and business growth. Gimbel & Associates joined Xplor in 1996 making this our 25th year in membership and support for the EDP (Electronic Document Professional) program, a valuable certification for all print professionals.

Skip:  For our readers who are not familiar with Gimbel & Associates, give us your 15-second elevator pitch about the company.

Roger:  Gimbel & Associates is a print industry international consulting firm that works with both print service providers and enterprise corporations to help them with strategy planning and implementation of business development projects.  The G&A team consists of SME’s that each have 25+ years’ experience with hands on participation and knowledge of the industry.

Skip:  The Gimbel family has been part of the printing industry for a long time.  If I am correct, starting in 1942.  Tell us a little bit about the company itself, a bit of history.

Roger:  The Gimbels in Print family has been in the printing business with over 80 years as of 2021.  The company evolved from manufacturing print products to helping develop new applications and technology products which has expanded into our current international consulting group. We use all the experience we have learned over the years to help others in printing and related industries succeed.  This ultimately saves them time, costs and promoted ROI.  There’s a newly published eBook on our site titled “Gimbels in Print” which goes into greater detail.  You can download this eBook and other publications at

Skip:  Your new book, “A Printer’s Perspective & Guide to Digital Printing and Variable Data,” along with the “Guide to Better Business,” provide insights in how to succeed in a changing industry.  Looking 2-4 years from now, what do you think our industry will look like?

Roger:  I believe that printing will be an industry of service providers that will be providing very specialized services, less commodity print and will incorporate targeted, analytic marketing. Multichannel delivery of information will be in the forefront of advertising and social communications. 

Skip:  What emerging technologies do you believe with further change the industry?

Roger:  Inkjet technology will continue to evolve and be the foundation and benchmark of all quality print.

Skip:  For our closing question, are print centers going to disappear?

Roger:  Print centers will not disappear, they will become hybrid locations where a print center in enterprise corporations will be producing immediate, required, same-day projects and more complex projects will be outsourced to print and service providers.

Skip:  Roger, thank you for your time.  Do you have any closing thoughts?

Roger:  I thoroughly believe that it is extremely important to be assessing your current operations to set up a strategy and plan that is managed by an internal champion with the backing of corporate commitment to create the “new” norm of the future.

Skip: Roger, once again, thank your thoughts and support. If anyone would like to more information Roger can be reached at: Roger P. Gimbel, EDP,, Office 646-472-1932, cell 917-415-3125 or in case they can’t reach Roger; Gail Gimbel, Executive Director, , Office 646-472-1950, cell 516-521-9522

Until next interview! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

AI is an enabler of Customer Communications Transformation and Modernization

This is part 2 of an interview with Steve Biancaniello, CEO of Messagepoint; read Part 1 here!

Artificial Intelligence has become a growing component of Customer Communications and the overall experience. Software vendors have started to integrate into their software offerings with some companies further along than others.

Messagepoint has taken a leadership role and has put AI front and center in their offerings, so I wanted to touch base with them and get their thoughts on the subject. What is AI, the value proposition, what should organizations be thinking about, and what recommendations our friends at Messagepoint have.

Steve Biancaniello, CEO of Messagepoint was kind enough to take the time to share some additional thoughts for this, part two of a two-part interview. Part one is available here

Skip: Some vendors are looking at applying AI to transformation initiatives. What have you seen in the market relating to modernization and transformation?

Steve: I think COVID-19 has kicked a lot of digitalization initiatives into high gear – the need to be digital but also do so in a way that customers demand. We are hearing from both direct customers and partners that organizations are looking to transform and modernize customer communications processes and systems. This has been a big challenge in our industry – it’s perceived as a risky venture requiring too much time, effort and money to tackle content silos and justify the ‘transformation’, and as a result, lots of companies are stuck in molasses. I liken it to having a “Communications debt” – because you didn’t invest in modernizing in increments along the way, you are left behind and it becomes this very large program that is daunting or perceived as too hard to do.

AI is helping to change that by enabling people to realize they have options here whether they want to optimize the content they have in their current system, optimize the content and migrate to a new system, or take action in whole or in parts based on a deeper awareness of the state of their content.

Skip: How can AI assist with transformation and modernization initiatives?

Steve: The biggest barrier that exists today is the traditional approach to content migration. The average enterprise migration takes 3 years and costs millions. These are averages from services organizations that are using scripts to assist with parts of the process, regardless of that help – it is costly and slow and prone to errors that come with manual processes. It often relies heavily on tribal knowledge and a shrinking pool of SMEs who understand the nuisances associated with the legacy content and platforms that house this content.

The story is the same whether you’re doing it yourself or leveraging a professional services firm – the process is highly manual and resource-intensive. No one will invest that time, or money to make the

transition, which is why these projects often get cancelled or pared down to a lift and shift. The problem is that optimization gets left behind and content that gets brought over is often riddled with problems – duplicates, variations of similar content, off-brand content, outdated regulatory content, content this is difficult to read and understand – essentially all the problems that were buried in the legacy system hampered by years of ineffective content management and sharing. For years people stalled these migration and transformation efforts because the technical debt was too steep to pay – Now AI makes it possible to address this technical debt and position organizations to be more much more intelligent and agile when curating content to improve customer experiences

We have introduced Rationalizer which leverages the Messagepoint Advanced Rationalization and Content Intelligence Engine, known as MARCIE. This engine automates and improves key processes relating to content migration to make the entire process fast, as AI accelerates the content management processes – such as automating ingestion, content comparisons, and analysis. It also makes it accurate – no more human error, similar content objects overlooked. It also makes content processing repeatable at scale to enable enterprise-scale migration and instantaneous help for content authors, no matter the size of the team. Lastly, it lowers risk, as it democratizes knowledge, so you aren’t relying on one central figure to continue on.

Skip: What does AI do specifically to change the process?

Steve: In the case of Rationalizer, it breaks the process down into 5 key steps.

First off is intelligent ingestion of content from Word, PDF, HTML, print streams, and CCM solutions. It ingests the content, breaks it apart into its pieces, and tags those pieces. Secondly is discovery, which reveals key findings about your content such as duplicate content, similar content, brand violations, reading level violations, and sentiment issues. Third, with a single click, you can consolidate duplicate or similar content objects. Fourth, optimization within the system revels opportunities to correct those issues relating to brand, reading levels, and sentiment. Finally, you can migrate to your modern communications management system.

Rationalizer, leveraging MARCIE drives significant benefits of substantial time and cost savings, increased accuracy, the ability to scale these content migration and transformation programs and the democratization of expert knowledge to reduce the risk of the move and position for more intelligent, agile content authoring experiences going forward.

Skip: What recommendations do you have for someone thinking of embarking on this type of transformational journey?

Steve: You need to set clearly defined goals and outcomes for your business. Is this just about technology modernization or do you want to improve the customer experience? That will determine what technologies and partners you select.

You also need to get the various stakeholders together early and on the same page early. If you are focused on the same goals and believe this type of transformation is tenable with AI-powered solutions, then you will get ‘unstuck’ together.

Don’t settle for a manual approach that will cost you unnecessary time and money. Some vendors are focused on leveraging offshore resources because that is their only option. AI tools exist today that can

have a dramatic impact on the process and the outcomes. Don’t think of optimization as a one-time event, as it’s ongoing. Look for a solution that will optimize your content and keep things optimized over time.

Finally, respect the pivotal role of content curators – look for solutions that offer intuitive, intelligent, instantaneous content authoring assistance while preserving the curators’ right to have it their way as needed.

Skip: Thank you once again, Steve any closing thoughts?

Steve: You are welcome and of course if anyone has any questions and/or would like more information they can feel free to visit or email us at or call us at 800-492-4103.

About Messagepoint
Messagepoint is a leading provider of customer communications management software. Only Messagepoint harnesses AI-powered Content Intelligence to automate and simplify the process of migrating, optimizing, authoring, and managing complex customer communications for non-technical (business) users. Our customers rely on our award-winning platform to consistently deliver exceptional, highly personalized customer communications across all platforms and channels. For more information, visit

PODCAST: #XPLOR20 Goes Virtual with Skip Henk, President/CEO

I had the pleasure of chatting with an old friend, Deborah Corn as we discussed an overview of this year’s virtual event, and how Xplor looked at industry and market trends to develop all of the #XPLOR20 tracks and sessions to keep the Customer Communications community moving forward. Check it out!

Until next interview! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

Not Just a Buzzword: AI Will Play an Essential Role in Your Customer Communications

Part 1 of an interview with Steve Biancaniello, CEO of Messagepoint; read Part 2 here!

Artificial Intelligence has become a growing component of Customer Communications and the overall experience. Software vendors have started to integrate into their software offerings with some companies further along than others.

Messagepoint has taken a leadership role and has put AI front and center in their offerings, so I wanted to touch base with them and get their thoughts on the subject. What is AI, the value proposition, what should organizations be thinking about, and what recommendations our friends at Messagepoint have.

Steve Biancaniello, CEO of Messagepoint was kind enough to take the time and share his thoughts.

This is a two part interview. Part two is available here.

Skip: Steve, thank you for taking the time.

Steve: It’s my pleasure. Thank you for asking.

Skip: So let’s get right into it. Why is AI important to customer communications and customer experiences?

Steve: First, I think its important to define what AI is. AI is essentially a technology that can learn and perform cognitive functions/tasks independently. This enables the intelligent processing of raw data at scale to perform any number of tasks.

AI adds speed, power, and scale to the processing of complex problems that would be extremely difficult, tedious, and repetitive to accomplish manually or with normal software tools. It also automates repetitive, labor-intensive cranial tasks, recognizes patterns that are not obvious to humans, and can democratize expert knowledge.

This can quickly translate into tangible business benefits, such as lower costs, improved quality of communications, faster and more context-specific responses to customers, and even more intelligent offers to customers.

Skip: Where do you see organizations getting the greatest value from AI in the area of customer communications?

Steve: There are lots of points within the customer experience today where AI already plays a role. For example, online personal shopping assistants powered by IBM Watson, chatbots that handle customer service inquiries, or targeting of personalized offers via email.

But when it comes to customer communications, we feel the greatest value lies in managing and optimizing content. There are a number of thorny problems with content – the sheer volume that most enterprise-scale organizations have and the slight, subtle variations that lead to redundancies and

duplications, the need for the same content to be published across all the different channels through which we communicate with customers. With its ability to handle scale and process information quickly, AI seems perfectly matched to help address those challenges.

That’s why we built The Messagepoint Advanced Rationalization and Content Intelligence Engine, known as MARCIE. MARCIE automates and improves key processes relating to content management, optimization, and migration, all at scale. Think of it as an intelligent assistant for content authors when creating and managing content and communications.

Skip: What should organizations be thinking of when it comes to managing and optimizing content with AI?

Steve: Content operations at scale are very complex, especially when you’re dealing with customer communications. Much of the content leveraged for customer communications is still stuck in old systems that require programming, deep tribal knowledge, and manual processes to work with it in anyway. These systems represent key barriers that stop organizations from being agile and responsive.

First look for content management tasks that you can automate to simplify and scale operations. A good example of this is using AI to analyze content and tag it with the appropriate metadata. Humans are notoriously bad at doing these kinds of tasks at scale.

AI can also perform functions that require understanding the meaning of the content. This formerly required human intervention to make judgements but AI models are becoming increasingly effective here. Given this, it also makes sense to look for ways in which AI can help you improve the quality of your content. For example, you could support a content optimization effort by identifying content that conveys the wrong sentiment.

Some AI-based capabilities will also identify content that performs better, or which content is most relevant to a customer to truly deliver on the right message, at the right moment, to the right person

With MARCIE we have chosen to focus first on enforcing brand guidelines, reading comprehension, sentiment, and consolidating duplicate and similar content. As organizations expand the ways they think about managing and optimizing content, MARCIE will also expand their capabilities by supporting additional AI-assisted content management use cases.

Skip: What recommendations do you have for someone looking at a solution that promotes the use of AI?

Steve: Recognize what you still want humans to control and what you want the machine to control. Many AI solutions learn over time and that is a great thing, but it needs relevant data to learn from to understand nuances in your own communications. This is particularly true when the tasks are complex, such as writing new correspondence. If you automate too much of the content creation process for example, you might suddenly hit the wrong note and end up with a customer experience problem for the sake of efficiency. A solution has to strike the right balance between providing insights that enable more intelligent action and full automation. This can be achieved when AI-assisted authoring is seamless, intuitive, instantaneous, while not restraining the expertise of the content authors.

Skip: Thank you once again. I am sure our readers will benefit from your insight. Best of luck to Messagepoint and thank you and Messagepoint for your support of Xplor and the industry.

Steve: You are welcome and of course if anyone has any questions and/or would like more information they can feel free to contact us.

Look for part two of the interview with Steve Biancaniello, CEO of Messagepoint in the next issue of E-Document News.

About Messagepoint
Messagepoint is a leading provider of customer communications management software. Only Messagepoint harnesses AI-powered Content Intelligence to automate and simplify the process of migrating, optimizing, authoring, and managing complex customer communications for non-technical (business) users. Our customers rely on our award-winning platform to consistently deliver exceptional, highly personalized customer communications across all platforms and channels. For more information, visit

Gimbel & Associates Releases Printer’s Guide to Better Business

400 Garden City Plaza Suite 405
Garden City, NY 11530-3362

Garden City, NY June 1, 2020

Gimbel & Associates, the well-known printing industry management consulting firm, has published a compendium of articles designed to help their clients and other companies in the printing business develop strategies for protecting and growing their businesses. Roger P. Gimbel’s Guide to Better Business is full of helpful guidance, tips, and resources.

The downloadable eBook includes sections on Business Strategy, Marketing, Sales Acceleration, Production, and more. This 100-plus page comprehensive resource is available to print professionals at no charge.

“Companies in the printing business need new strategies, especially after COVID-19,” says company president and author Roger Gimbel, EDP, “This is the time for printing companies to assess their business models. The way they do business with customers is changing, and we decided it was the ideal time to create the guide.”

The Guide to Better Business is a collection of articles Gimbel & Associates has produced to help companies create successful businesses today and as business recovers from the pandemic shutdown. Printers will find the eBook contains valuable information they can put to use in their own organizations among titles such as “Data Security Challenges in Your Print Environment”, “Enhancing Your Communication Skills”, and “Making More Money with Mail”.

Print company managers tend to focus on delivering the projects of the day to their customers. They don’t spend enough time planning how to improve their businesses. When the economy picks up, print companies will be extra busy. Right now is a great time to browse through the guide and jot down strategic ideas relevant to your organization.


Gimbel & Associates is an international management consulting firm working to ignite business growth through digital technologies. As an independent company, they offer clients customized consulting services to achieve their sales and marketing goals. With an extensive background in print services, print production, digital, marketing communications, database management, training, and direct marketing, Gimbel & Associates helps their clients accomplish their growth and efficiency goals.

An Interview with Harvey Gross on upcoming Customer Communications Virtual Summit

By: Skip Henk, President and CEO of Xplor International

Xplor Elite sponsor and longtime supporter Crawford Technologies is hosting a virtual customer communications summit on May 6th outlining strategies for staying in touch with your customers.

I had the opportunity to speak with Harvey Gross, Vice President of Products for Crawford to learn a bit more on their decision to put on the event and what people can expect.

Skip: Harvey, what is Crawford’s purpose in putting on the Customer Communications Virtual Summit?

Harvey: Well Skip, in a nutshell – we kind of missed getting together with our colleagues in the industry ad hearing about the new things that everyone has been working on.

Skip: This whole virtual world is coming to the forefront, on a lighter note, what should one wear to this event?

Harvey: This is a really important question given the current environment we are all living in right now. Let me share the good news – what you wear is totally up to you! Be as comfy as you want! You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, a name badge and what’s even more important – there’s no need to worry about social distancing, so you don’t have to wear a mask. That is unless you have a really cool mask that you like to wear around your home or office.

Skip: What is the Customer Communications Virtual Summit and why should you attend?

Harvey: Another good question. While many of the industry events you were planning to attend this spring and summer have either been cancelled or postponed, it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on gaining the insights from recognized industry experts, customers and enterprise leaders about the technologies and best practices that can help organizations grow and thrive. And to be quite honest, we here at Crawford Technologies miss having the opportunity to share these experiences with you and we know our colleagues do as well. But we didn’t want this to be just be another invitation to a webinar.

We decided that the best way to get everyone together would be to host a full day, complimentary Customer Communications Virtual Summit where our industry experts can share their knowledge and experiences related to improving customer experience, understanding and achieving regulatory compliance and optimizing customer communications across 3 tracks – Output Management, eDelivery and Document Accessibility. With 30 sessions focused on thought leadership, case studies, user experiences and collaboration opportunities, the Virtual Summit is more than just another webinar – it is an ideal and timely opportunity to easily stay on top of the latest industry trends and topics.

Skip: Who will be speaking?

Harvey: We are thrilled to have an amazing lineup of the most respected customer communications industry experts and enterprise leaders for this event. Our Keynote speaker, Matt Swain, managing director and practice lead at Broadridge Communications and Customer Experience (CX) Consulting, will share his perspective on the future of communications relative to business priorities and customer preferences in the wake of COVID-19 and how some temporary measures are likely to morph into new norms for communications in the future. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Kaspar

Roos, founder and CEO of Aspire Customer Communications Services; Gina Ferrara, senior analyst at Madison Advisors; Pat McGrew, managing director of The McGrew Group; Laney Feingold, lawyer and writer at the Law Offices of Lainey Feingold; and Pina D’Intino, founder of Aequum Global Access.

Our customers will also be sharing their insights and strategies for optimizing customer communications including John Slaney from Content Critical Solutions, Kathy Lovell from Regions Bank, Birkir Gunnarssen from Truist and Ken Schmidt from Ameritas. And you will also hear from our partners – BlueCrest, Canon, BCC Software, Nuxeo, Delphax Solutions, enChoice, Microsoft, Pitney Bowes Software, Deque, AO Docs and Open Access Technologies.

Skip: Any closing remarks?

Harvey: Make sure to check out the agenda and register for this exciting industry event. And if you need another reason to attend? You definitely won’t have tired, aching, blistered feet at the end of the day.

Register today and I hope to “see” you at our first Customer Communications Virtual Summit on May 6th.

Until next interview! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

Dealing with the Pandemic and Making Today a More Productive Day

Antoine DuPont is a recognized expert and strategist in digital marketing. He’s an award-winning marketing agency owner and a speaker at national & international conferences including a keynote presentation at #XPLOR20 September 17-19 in St. Pete Beach Florida.

Recently, Antoine shared some thoughts on dealing with the pandemic and making today a more productive day (or at least he hopes).

From Antoine:

Some days are productive and some aren’t.

Yesterday wasn’t productive. I kept getting distracted by  Facebook or by the latest news article on the pandemic.

So I went in the kitchen looking for a snack. I kept telling myself “you’re not hungry, you’re just distracted & anxious”. I made myself a sandwich anyway. Just because.

Today will be a more productive day! I hope…

One of the simple ways I found to stay focused is to take one simple project at a time, like “create 2 short videos” or “redesign my landing page”, “write one blog”

Many of my friends lately have reached out to ask me about the tools I use to run my business. Below are ALL my favorite tools and what I use them for

So if you have good intentions on being productive today (or next week), here you go:
(not in any particular order of preference)

  • InVideo: to create a quick animation or video on the fly
  • RemoveBG : to remove the background on any picture
  • TubeBuddy : to get intelligence on how best to win with my YouTube videos
  • SEM Rush : to get intelligence on keywords and traffic on my website (and my competitors)
  • Custom Thumbnails : when I don’t have time to create my own thumbnails
  • Canva : when I need a graphic done quickly on a tight budget
  • AnswerThePublic: to know what question people ask on the internet with any keyword
  • Zoom : when I need to Zoom with people 😉
  • Basecamp : to manage all our projects
  • Moz Local : to win at the local SEO level
  • Buzz Sumo : to get intelligence on which content is going to perform best
  • Rev : to quickly get a video transcript
  • Videvo: for free stock video footage and clips
  • Death To Stock : for unique non-stock photos and images
  • GT Metrix: to check the load speed of any website
  • Splasheo : to customize a video for social media with captions

Have a happy productive day. Cheers!

Stay safe & be well. Hope to meet you in St. Pete Beach.

Antoine Dupont
Sales & Marketing Speaker + Consultant
W 561-272-8567

M 561-441-5478

For more information on #XPLOR20 please visit: