EDP Certification Program

Electronic Document Professional® (EDP) is an industry designation awarded to qualified individuals who have demonstrated broad knowledge of and experience in digital communications – whether in print, over internal networks, or online – from document creation to distribution.

Turning electronic documents, the heart of modern corporate communications, into effective communications is the work of professionals. EDP certification ensures that the recipient has demonstrated excellence by a thorough examination of his or her work, business ethics, and overall contributions to the industry through a rigorous evaluation process.

The top-ranked benefits cited by EDP-designated professionals include:

Recognition and respect by industry peers
Personal sense of accomplishment and validation of expertise
Career-based credibility as an individual and for a company with demonstrated credentials
Belonging to a networked community of subject matter experts
Incentive for continued education and knowledge sharing

Dear Occupant, We Are Raising The Bar!

If you are old enough to remember receiving direct mail addressed to “Dear Occupant,” you will certainly remember the astonishment and wonder when you received your first piece of “personalized mail” – Dear (insert your name here).
Over time the level of text personalization increased to include things like the company you worked for, the city you lived in, etc., and we all felt connected in some way. We were not just an “occupant” but an individual.

That was the late 80‘s, early 90’s if I recall correctly.

Today, receive a piece of personalized mail and you are typically less than impressed. In fact, you probably may even ignore it unless it is something out of the ordinary, like your name spelled in the sand on a beach, or in the clouds against a blue sky. There is still a WOW factor to the innovative use of personalization. However personalization and the WOW factor have to be relevant. A catchy piece, plus a good offer to the right person, equals a winner for the Brand.

In 1999 Harry Quadracci of Quad Graphics wrote, “We are in the Age of Advertising. Baby Boomers, now in their peak spending years, have a lot of buying power, and there’s going to be a lot of advertising to get that dollar. The best way to harness that buying power will be through properly promoting the brand… and the most effective media for brand promotion will continue to be ink on paper. It’s The Brand, Stupid, it’s The Brand!”

Mr.Quadracci was right in 1999 and remains so today, “it is the brand” and the decision makers of the brands who require results. Sending out 100,000 pieces of direct mail to “Dear (insert your name here), hoping 2-3% produce results is no longer what the brands are looking for or need. Sending out 50,000 innovative pieces, to the right people with the right offer drives double digit results. If you are a printer I am not saying you need to be a “marketeer” – but you do need to understand what your customers may ask you to print. (Everyone familiar with augmented reality?)

So as a printer, what is interactive print? (I personally believe it could be the Renaissance of direct mail) What do the brands need? How can you be part of the opportunity?

There is a great deal of opportunity for those who get it. To get it you need to reach out to different places and spheres of influences.

I invite you to add Xplor to your sphere of influences and join us for Xploration 14, March 25-27th in Orlando Florida.

Visit http://xplor.org/upcoming-events/2014-annual-conference

Is Multi-Channel Marketing Just Another Spray and Pray?

Last week when I was in Haiti I had an interesting conversation with one of the people in our group about the whole subject of marketing and in particular the best way he could solicit funds for his not-for-profit organization.
He shared that he had researched the concept of multi-channel marketing and was keen on the idea of trying to communicate with people using different channels to increase the odds of his success. His logic followed conventional wisdom that if he puts his message out utilizing different channels that one of them would stick, prompt some type of response and increase donations.

As we talked more I began to wonder if multi-channel marketing was becoming the new spray and pray.

Spray and Pray

In the old days of direct mail the terms “spray and pray” meant you sent “x” number of people a direct mail piece and a percentage would respond. Acceptable response rates were 2-3% and as technology and demographic targeting became more prevalent exponential increases in percentages of responses were realized.

More relevant and targeted marketing, generating fewer mailed pieces, with a higher response and better ROI have replaced the spray and pray method.

Is Multi-Channel Marketing the New “Spray and Pray”?

I have children so I understand they will respond to a text faster than a phone call. Call your child, wait for it to go into voice mail (if they have one) and then text them to get an instant answer. Text messaging as a channel works. For others it is Twitter, LinkedIn, some Facebook (although kids are leaving it since their parents discovered it!) and there are still many who value their walk to the mailbox.

One would think then it would be all about the channel.

What Could Multi-Channel Marketing Be?

I attend a lot of conferences, participate in a lot of Webinars, and I have seen some great multi-channel campaigns that were works of art. They not only relied on the delivery channel but the message associated with each type of media. They capitalized on the attributes of each channel as well as the various senses they triggered. They were an “ongoing message” designed to engage, engrain a message and drive different calls to actions. Different messages using different channels.

Maybe it’s not just the channel, but a combination of the channel and messaging

Confusing? Yes? No? Not sure?

I guess everyone’s definition of multi-channel marketing is a bit different. Some simply take the same information and send it out using different channels and others make it an engaging experience.  If it works, who is to say it is wrong.

Back to Haiti! As we continued to talk he realized that the delivery channel was important but so was the product, story line, design and demographics of the recipients. (He is not a marketing guy just someone who want to raise money to help people.) Since we had a whole evening with no TV, little light and no internet, we decided to plot out a campaign that included video, pictures, social media presence, etc. etc. It will be interesting to check back with him.

It all boils down to the right message, to the right person at the right time using the right channel(s).

Come and Hear for Yourself …. Are We There Yet?

I invite you to attend the complimentary Xplor at Print13 breakfast session entitled “Are We There Yet? A 2013 Multi-Channel Communications Industry Perspective” moderated by Matt Swain of InfoTrends.

The panel will feature end users who have provide multi-channel communications to their customers. They have been there and will share their successes and failures.

For more information or to register please visit: http://xplor.org/upcoming-events/xplor-at-print-13

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Are We There Yet? We will see at #Print13

One of the buzzwords or phrases that has made the rounds the last several years is “multi-channel marketing”.  I have watched dozens of  presentations on the subject, spoken about it and have debated it’s attributes.

What is Multi-Channel Marketing?

According to our friends at Wikipedia – Multichannel marketing is marketing using many different marketing channels to reach a customer.[1] In this sense, a channel might be a retail store, a web site, a mail order catalogue, or direct personal communications by letter, email or text message. The objective of the companies doing the marketing is to make it easy for a consumer to buy from them in whatever way is most appropriate.

Does Multi-Channel Marketing Equate To Effective Marketing?

My favorite definition of relevant communications is “the right message, to the right person at the right time …. using the right media.  Is multi-channel communications the same thing as effective marketing? Sometimes, maybe but not always. 

When I was looking at what type of programming Xplor was going to do at Print13 I decided it was time to address the issue. I wanted to have a forum where several companies who had implemented multi-channel communications speak openly about their successes and failures. I wanted someone to ask the tough questions, who knows the industry.

Are We There Yet: A 2013 Multi-Channel Communications Industry Perspective 

InfoTrends_A_Questex_Company_LogoPrint 13 is the perfect backdrop for Xplor’s breakfast keynote session moderated by industry expert Matt Swain of InfoTrends. Matt’s panel of leading print service providers will talk about their challenges, the things they would do different and the things that worked.

It is a don’t miss 90 minutes at Print13.

The breakfast panel is taking place September 10th from 8:30 am to 10:00 am. The cost, complimentary thanks to our sponsors CompartCrawford Technologies and Solimar Systems.

Join us for breakfast, a great educational session and also receive a complimentary exhibit hall pass simply by registering to attend.

The session is going to be conveniently located at McCormick Place South in Room 101 a few short steps from the shuttle bus drop off area.

Register here ASAP as attendance is limited to 200. 

See you in Chicago …. Are We There Yet?

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Changing the World

Decided I wanted to write this week about someone in our industry who is changing the world. Literally, one person at a time.

In my many years being associated with Xplor I have met some incredible people, people that have changed how the world communicates. I have also people who have worked to change the world outside of our industry. Ken Leslie is one of those people.

I thought of Ken this week as I watched his online auction for 1Matters, a program Ken founded to get the Homeless off the streets including our American Veterans.

Describing Ken is difficult.  Alcoholic and drug addict (sober for 25+ years), homeless, comedian, Emmy  winner, business owner, founding funder/founding member of the Toledo/Lucas County Homelessness Board (TLC) and founder of 1Matters. Ken, also is a longtime Xplor member, owner of E-DocTalent and former Chair of the association board.

As a comic he has shared bills with such acts as DL Hugely, Sinbad, Seinfeld, Sam Kinison, Frankie Valli, the Righteous Brothers, and occasionally still headlines regional comedy clubs or the Stranahan Theater.

Beyond his comedy career, Ken had gotten into television production in the 90’s. He produced and wrote many programs, including three award-winning documentaries on homelessness: “No House to Hold,” “Homeless Not Hopeless” and “A Home for the Holidays,” as well an Emmy-winning baseball feature with the Detroit Tigers in 1992.

In 1990 he started the Homeless Awareness Project (HAP), the all-volunteer organization became a national global advocacy group providing real time collaborative solutions to move un-housed individuals and families into domestic autonomy.

In 2008 HAP became 1Matters after a visit by singer John Mellencamp to their annual event. John was moved by the collaboration and invited all of the guests to his concert that evening where he talked with them from the stage. One guest returned to Project Connect and said “Ken, John talked to us from the stage, I guess I really do matter.” 1Matters was born. Mr. Mellencamp and others in the music industry continue to support the organization.

In addition to 1Matters, Ken is still sober, still running his business and still doing comedy and television when the mood or project strikes including “Called To Duty,” the 2002 Crystal Award of Merit winning documentary about firefighters. His story is amazing.

To learn more about Ken and 1Matters visit http://1matters.org

By the way, in describing Ken, I am also proud to say he is my friend.

Congratulations to the Graphic Arts Show Company

Well the Graph Expo 2012 is history, and the Graphic Arts Show Company should be extremely pleased with the results. I had the opportunity to see Ralph Nappi and Chris Price on the show floor and both had this kind of “Cheshire Cat” look on their face of satisfaction.

Attendance on Sunday, was the best I have seen in a couple years. Not sure whether it was the later start at noon, due to the Chicago Marathon or pent up anticipation to look at the latest and greatest technology, or both. Whatever it was, it worked.

Monday and Tuesday also had impressive traffic. (I left Tuesday afternoon to get back for a school activity for my daughter.)

The Xplor at Graph Expo Seminar attendance was down from 2011. Not sure if it was the day or time or the fact that there were a lot more educational events in 2012. We had great speakers, great feedback. Looking at doing something a bit different for Print 13.

Every year I say I am going to spend more time on the floor and every year I never get to see enough.  I will apologize to the dozens and dozens of vendors I did not get to but a couple highlights I saw in between meetings:

  • Congratulations to Deborah Corn and PrintMediaCentr on the first Printerverse – a new Show Floor Feature at Graph Expo! Went there on Monday and ended up designating it as my official meeting area. Neat application of the documobi technology, Girls Who Print and some great speakers including Kevin Keane. (If you ever have the opportunity to talk to him, it is certainly worth your time.)
  • Was great to see Delphax on the floor with new technology. Since I spent 10 years there I have always pulled for the company. General Manager, Steve Hubbard showed me their new elan™ System technology, which appears solid and puts them in the heart of the transactional document space again. For more information check out http://www.delphax.com/?s=products&c=elan
  • While visiting the RICOH booth, Eric Staples, Senior Product Manager gave me a glimpse of their new product “Clickable Paper”, which appears to have a great deal of potential.  For more information http://ricohinnovations.com/clickable-paper/
  • At the Kodak booth I spent time with Peter Bouchard, Paul Schiller and Rick Mazur looking at what was new at Kodak. Once again, as an alumni, I am always interested in see old friends and seeing what new things they have going on. I was particularly impressed with the samples they showed  from their “Fifth Imaging Unit Solution” on the NexPress. Fundamentally a host of different finishes which included gloss, spot gloss, red flourecing, linen, dimensional and watermark finishing. The samples popped. Check it out at: http://graphics.kodak.com/ca/fr/product/printers_presses/comm_sheet/digital_color/fifth_imaging/default.htm

Once again, I apologize to all of what and who I missed, but if you have any highlights you would like to share. Join the conversation.

Until next time.

Graph Expo … Three Don’t Miss Opportunities

With Graph Expo just two weeks away I am amazed at the “buzz” being generated through the print, email and social media. Talking with Chris Price, VP of the Graphic Arts Show Company, he is anticipating a great show.

Here are three “don’t miss” opportunities:

  1. Xplor at Graph Expo: a half day seminar featuring industry and subject matter experts who will talk about best practices, case studies and trends within the document communications industry.

Complimentary session: Attend one of the nine Xplor conference sessions, listed below, as our guest. For additional information and to registration click here.

  • Monday, October 8, 2012 – 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Use registration discount code XSFREE to receive your complimentary session.

Sessions include:

  • Best Practices for Design and Color Quality
  • The Mail Truck vs. The Cloud: The Digital Mailbox Revolution
  • How to Integrate Scaling, Security & Compliance Into Your Document Workflow Strategy
  • Will It Mail? Design Considerations for Inkjet Transaction and Direct Mail
  • Mining and Using Social Media Data to Increase Customer Engagement and Relevant Multichannel Communication
  • Making it Relevant: An Introduction to Variable Data Printing
  • Color Theory Meets Document Design: How to Make Your Documents Sing in Color!
  • Linking Print and Mail: Transitioning to a White Paper Factory™ Workflow
  • One Algorithm Doesn’t Fit All

2.  Experience The Printerverse – Xplor partner Print Media Centr has created The Printerverse, an educational and networking haven for printers, integrated marketers, print and digital producers, print and media buyers, designers, creatives, agencies—and anyone interested in today’s evolution of print. Located on the Show floor, it will feature a variety of ways to interact with print, including the GRAPHitti Wall which you dont want to miss!  Click here for more information

3.  Check out the new GASC Channel with all the latest and greatest news for the 2012 Graph Expo event. Click here and enjoy!

See you in a couple weeks ….

Who gives a tweet

At the recent XDU On the Road in Chicago I asked attendees a couple questions, which I often do, about twitter. I asked three questions:

1. Who has or has had a twitter account?

2. Who actively tweets?

3. Do you read the tweets you receive?

With the theme of the 2012 XDU On the Road program being “making it relevant”, and the 5 sessions focusing on relevant communications the subject of social media was certainly part of the discussion.

In Chicago, as in other cities the percentages were close. In Chicago approximate 70% said they had a twitter account at some time. About 20% said they actively tweeted and about the same percentage claimed to read some if not all of their tweets.

Many have told me that there are a lot of twitter accounts, with few people actually being engaged. So why should we give it a tweet?

The answer, yes you should give a tweet, especially if they are among the 20 or so percent who like to communicate via twitter. Right message, right time, right person using the right CHANNEL. That is what relevance is.

Do you give a tweet?

PS – 20% is huge compared to the 1-5% using other channels.

Neopost Purchases GMC Software

There has been a lot of chatter the last couple weeks about the acquisition of GMC Software by Neopost. (The Xplor LinkedIn Group has certainly been a buzz) After receiving many calls and emails asking what my thoughts are on the subject, I figured I would chime in.

I certainly was not surprised that GMC was sold. GMC has grown and prospered over the years and like many companies was ripe to be acquired by any number of large suitors. What did surprise me initially was who the suitor ended up being, but when you step back, it makes way too much sense.

GMC – I have had the pleasure of working with GMC over the last 15 years. Their products are solid, innovative and highly regarded in the industry. Their people are top notch.

A big part of GMC’s success has been their culture of innovation and a large talented pool of people, both of which have been cultivated over the years by GMC Software Technology CEO René Müller. René has been at the helm for a while, has grown the company and as he has stated, “looking towards” retirement.

It is my belief that René sought out a company that would continue the legacy of product innovation and professional growth for his employees . A company that is a reflection of what GMC has become over the years. Culturally, Neopost seems to fit that bill.

Neopost – One can see from this transaction and other strategic moves that Neopost has made over the last 24 months that they continue to position themselves for growth.

With a large presence in the US (approx. 40% of revenue in 2010) Neopost is ranked as the number one company in Europe and second in the world in mailroom solutions, designed to optimize mail workflow. Neopost has 5,500 employees all over the world and markets products and services in 90 countries with subsidiaries in 18 countries.

Complimentary Culture – I think he Neopost Strategic Vision says it all in terms of Mr. Müller’s selection.

“….  engaging in constructive and mutually profitable working relationships with our partners, respecting environmental, quality-of-life and safety standards as well as supporting local communities.

We provide assistance to local communities where we have a business interest and support employees in their charitable work and actions. We call this being “Close to our customers, close to our communities”.

For a complete write up of Neopost’s Strategic Vision:

Xplor International Welcomes 2012 Board Of Directors

The old and the new….

Associations are driven by leadership with Xplor being no different. At this years conference the International Board of Directors voted to add three directors with the sole purpose of bringing in “new blood”, particularly “new YOUNG blood”.

I certainly applaud the decision. Our Board is made up of volunteers, who willingly give of their time. There are no perks for being on the Board as we hold (12) meetings a year, (11) via the web and one face to face meeting during our annual conference. This is a group of people that really and truly want to give back.

The Board has remained fairly “consistent” over the last several years so a bit of out of the box thinking is exactly what we needed.

Our young blood comes from the end user, service bureau and vendor community, and consist of Manish Kapoor of FedEx, Roger Chamberlain of Cincinnati Financial and Scott Draeger of HP/Exstream.

I personally want to thank Mark Bonacorso, who was last years Chair for his support and I welcome our new Chair, Paul Abdool and look forward to working with him and the rest of the 2012 Board.

As such, I would like to share our recent press release.

Xplor International Names New Association Board of Directors for 2012

Lutz, FL— May 15, 2012– Xplor International, the worldwide electronic document systems association, today announced that at the annual Conference and Vendor Forum in Tampa Bay, Florida, the organization named their Association Board of Directors for 2012. In addition to returning directors and officers, Xplor added three new members, including Roger Chamberlain of Cincinnati Financial, Scott Draeger of HP and Manish Kapoor of FedEx.

For 2012, Xplor’s Association Board of Directors includes:

Paul AbdoolChair and DirectorRICOH
Randy HardyVice Chair and DirectorRandy Hardy Associates
Harold (Skip) E. Henk, Jr.President, CEO and DirectorXplor International
David DayTreasurer and DirectorCrawford Technologies
Rob WilliamsSecretary and DirectorContinuum Worldwide Solutions
Additional Directors:
Mark Bonacorso(Retiring Chair)Media Ink
Roger ChamberlainCincinnati Financial
Scott DraegerHP
Sandi GilbertCrystaldox Document Management
Manish KapoorFedEx
Scott KellyUS Lynx, Inc
James ShandTripartum, LTD
Diana SnablyXerox Corp.

“We are honored to have our 2012 association board of director in place, with representation from the end-user, vendor and service bureau communities,” said Skip Henk, EDP, President and CEO of Xplor International. “I want to thank outgoing chair Mark Bonacorso, for his leadership and welcome the new members of the board. I look forward to working with the 2012 Association Board in growing the association and to an excellent year of educational programming and products.”

# # #

About Xplor International

Xplor International is a worldwide, not-for-profit professional association that consists of thousands of users and suppliers of the products and services that create, modify and deliver customized information using a wide variety of document technologies. The association provides educational products and programs for its members and the industry at large through conferences, meetings and annual events. Xplor International has its worldwide headquarters in Lutz, Florida with affiliated offices around the world. Further information is available at www.xplor.org.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/XplorInternational

Twitter: @Xplor_Int

Media Contacts:

Mark Bonacorso
Media Ink.

Skip Henk
Xplor International
(813) 948-3038