What Was “Old, Stale, and so 1990s” Is New Again!

Submitted by Skip Henk, EDP, President/CEO of Xplor International
February 24, 2015

The roar from our members had finally reached a crescendo that it was time to do something. I find Inaction under the guise of “not enough time” could no longer be an excuse.

And so it goes for

The “Ah-hah” Moment

Over the last two years I have received comments about our website. Comments such as: “The site looks old”, “you need to be mobile friendly”, “stale”, “so 1990’s” to name just a few. BUT we were busy, did not have enough time and really could not deal with it at the time. (A bit short sighted)

The “ah-hah” moment came when one of our members called me and flat out told me she was frustrated with the site and would not recommend any of her colleagues or friends to visit the site.

That simple phone call hit home. When your own member would not recommend your site your credibility is called into play and the logical assumption is you are not acting in the best interest of your members, whether intentional or not.

“For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.” Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs”

Your Website Is the Face of Your Company

A company website is many times the “first impression” one will have of your company. Since many people opt first to go to a company website to get information your website design needs to meet their needs. (Not yours) If the design of your website is unappealing, information is not readily available or hard to find, you most likely will lose a potential customer (or member).

• According to business2business community: (46%) of people say a website’s design is their number one criterion for determining the credibility of a company.

• “94% of people cited web design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website.” –

Getting it Done

Like any project you have to commit, come up with a plan, allocate resources and execute. An organization must also realize its limitations and sometimes look outside for a solution.

That is what we did. We committed and incorporated outside resources into the plan. Turning things over is a difficult thing for most organizations but looking back me getting out of the way was the best thing that could have happened.

Our Marketing Coordinator was tasked with getting it done. He worked with Deborah Corn of Print Media Center, who coordinated the project with our web designer, Elementary Digital.

A Statement of Work was created, reviewed and agreed to. Work began and as much as I would like to take you through the process, I received occasional updates and assurances things were going well, and continued to stay off to the side.

The site was launched last week, they still are doing a bit of tweaking, but I feel Xplor has arrived and our “face” to the industry is new, fresh, intuitive and serves our membership.

Things to Think About

• Listen to your customers, they know what they want (and what they don’t)
• No excuses, short-term savings equals long term loss. Commit.
• Get people involved that do it for a living, you don’t have to do it all
• Spend time on the Statement of Work. What the end product will be.
• Do your homework, there are a lot of web designers. They are not all created equal.
• Do it … and enjoy the results

Your plan needs to be forward thinking and include not only viewing on a PC but tablets and mobile devices.

“Only 22% of marketers say they’re ahead of the curve when it comes to responsive design. 29% say they have “average” experience level, 23% say they’re behind the times, and 4% say they’re hopeless. (Source: eMarketer)”

Special Thanks to Deborah Corn at PrintMediaCentr, Andy Holland of Elementary Digital, and Chad Henk of Xplor for making what was old, new again.

And a big thank you to you for stopping by! We would love to hear your comments on the new site! Sound away!

Describing The World B.G. (Before Google) Can Seem Unbelievable!

The other day my son and I were having a discussion about the similarities between dolphin and mahi mahi. It came to a point in the conversation where he asked me a question and I quickly had to admit I did not know the answer, a real downer for a father. Immediately he took out his cell phone and “Googled” it getting an almost instantaneous answer to his question.
Looking at me quizzically he asked “what did people do before google?” I smiled and said “you went to the library or if you were fortunate enough looked it up in your home encyclopedias. “ (His eyes began to cross)

He was 16 when “the last entry for Encyclopedia Britannica in book form” was announced. However I was excited to share my knowledge of life before Google as I went into my story about how after high school I sold the Encyclopedia Britannica’s. How expensive they were and that you received a beautiful wood bookcase when you bought them. And, every year you could purchase the update volume to keep your information current. I also laughed at how short my career was with one sale, to my parents. (I still have the books in my attic)

At this point he was in full “are you kidding” mode, eyes crossed and asking questions like; What if it was not in the encyclopedia? (You go to the library) What if it is something trivial that you don’t want to spend the time to look up? (Then you didn’t.)

Our discussion shifted to the “value” of Google. Being antagonistic I took the diametrically opposite opinion of my son. He claimed Google gave people instant access to information allowing people instant knowledge, very good points. I however argued Google can be inaccurate in many cases unlike an encyclopedia. It is contributing to the demise of face to face social interaction. It over complicates our lives introducing minutia in an already complicated world. Case in point, did learning about the difference between dolphin and mahi mahi change your life?

As far as the difference between a dolphin and mahi mahi.

The common English name of dolphin causes much confusion. This fish is not related to the marine mammals also known as dolphins (family Delphinidae). Additionally, two species of dolphinfish exist, the common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) and the pompano dolphin (Coryphaena equiselis). Both these species are commonly marketed by their Pacific name, mahi-mahi.

Don’t believe me? Google it!


Not a cloud in the sky…

At Xploration™14 in March we had several sessions on the cloud. Fortunately I was able to attend a couple of them and came back with more questions than answers as to how vulnerable Xplor would be if the cloud suddenly disappeared.

My conclusion to my brief sixty second assessment, we would be in deep trouble depending on the length of the outage and the ability of our provider to get us back up. Xplor’s email system is in the cloud as well as our event registration, website and members hub, which is just about all of Xplor.  We backup our database but if the rest goes down it is still a really big  problem.

Wozniak Agrees?

In further researching I read an interesting article the other day by Steve Wozniak regarding the cloud that made me think. In the article he stated “The more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we’re going to have control over it. With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away.”  Read the article.

The term that really caught my attention was You already signed it away.”  Yes, that is what we often do when we check that terms and conditions box in addition to absolving the provider of most if not all liability.

The Need to Ask Questions

What if your cloud provider goes out of business, is a victim of hackers or cyber terrorists. What are their safeguards? How do you get back up and running?  How do you recover? What is their liability?

Xplor as an organization is going to be asking the three vendors that control our “clouds” these questions.

So how does your organization handle the cloud and the people you entrust with your information?

What if there was not a cloud in the sky? I am curious to hear your views.



Using Their Data To Create Your Future, Now

He who controls the data wins ….

I started to look at content for the upcoming issue of E-Document News and I was not surprised that I ran across yet another article on the demise of the transactional document industry and the impact on print service providers.

I must admit I am a ½ glass full guy but many of these doomsday scenarios and the demise of whole industry or markets is a bit distressing to me as many times the industry or market does not go away, it just looks different.

Let me say this: If you are a print service provider, your best days could still be ahead …. It is up to you, not the post office. Let me share my thoughts.

Let’s make (5) assumptions:

  1. The amount of transactional data is not going down it is going up
  2. The need for that transactional data to be communicated/distributed  to customers will NEVER go away
  3. Volume for printed statements and bills will decrease over time (not tomorrow)
  4. Volume for delivery of electronic documents will increase
  5. Some applications being done on presses will migrate to digital, so digital print volume will increase

So given that today you process transactional data, print and mail bills and statements using digital print technology I would think:

  1. In the future you would have more data to process
  2. That data will have to be distributed
  3. Some information may need to be mailed, sent via email, text  or sent via mobile
  4. There will be more digital print volume as print quality and costs improve
  5. There is HUGE opportunity in information and output (not just print)

So what do you need to do?

Think data and specifically think “who controls the data wins”. What print service providers need to be is the keeper of the data. They want to be the ones that process and format the data but also distribute it: print and mail, email, send SMS, text or support whatever new delivery phenomena comes in the future.

Print service providers should be educating themselves on these ancillary technologies and offering them as a service, one that can generate revenue.  If you just want to print and mail start figuring out your exit strategy. However if you want a bright future become a distributor of information.

Becoming an information distributor

  • Keep abreast of how people communicate
  • Get familiar with all the methods of output and the vendors who offer these products
  • Spend time keeping up to date on the latest digital print technology
  • Invest in yourself and company employees by attending industry events, webcasts, etc.
  • Remember “he who controls the data wins”

By the way, I told the folks at Rollsource that their future is bright also

P.S. –  Since this is my blog, I will shamelessly say you need to attend the upcoming Xplor Users Conference and Vendor Forum April 16-18 in St. Pete Beach Florida. In one place you can:

  • Hear the latest trends and best practices that are driving customer communications
  • Meet with the companies who have made this transition and who are happy to share
  • Spend time with the vendors who can provide the products to grow your business
  • Hear the latest trends presented by the Gartner Group, InfoTrends and Madison Advisors

Visit  to view a complete agenda and registration options. Or call 813-949-6170

For my blog readers, (PSP’s and end users) if you are interested in attending please email me at and I will send you a promotion code to save on registration. First (5) will save big.