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Madison Advisors Returns to Xplor Conference to Share CCM Insights

Half-Day Pre-Conference Event Helps Kick Off Xploration® 15

Lutz, FL —February 24, 2015—Xplor International, the worldwide electronic document systems association, today announced that the Madison Advisor’s Pre-Conference Intensive will once again be part of Xplor’s Annual Conference, Xploration® 15, April 14-16, at the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive in Orlando, Florida. The pre-conference program will take place April 13, 2015, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. Attendees can register at www.cvent.com/d/l4qklv.

Tweet this: @Madison_Advisor Pre-Conference Intensive again returns to Xploration® 15 in Orlando, Florida #Xplor15 www.cvent.com/d/l4qklv

Madison Advisors provides thought leadership, strategic consulting, and market research to clients in the customer communications management (CCM), electronic delivery, and print industries. Their industry-neutral expertise enables end-user organizations, service providers, and vendors to achieve their strategic objectives around transactional customer communications and publishing services.

This year’s pre-conference program will feature three sessions that include:
• Archives: Not Just for Documents Anymore
• Measuring What Matters: Dashboards and KPIs
• Minding Your Print & Queues: Job Scheduling, Tracking & Optimization

For detailed information about the Madison Advisors program, please visit ow.ly/JADeo.

Pricing
Attendance to the Madison Advisors pre-conference program is not included with the conference’s Platinum Passport. However, attendees can purchase this pre-conference program during the registration process for Xploration® 15. For Xplor Members, the cost is $200 USD and non-members, $225 USD.

About Xploration® 15
Xploration® 15 is being held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive from April 14-16, 2015. Pre-Conference Programs will take place on April 13, 2015.

For questions about Xploration® 15, please contact Xplor Headquarters at +1-813-949-6710 or by email at register@xplor.org. To register, or for more information, please visit the conference website: www.cvent.com/d/l4qklv.

Registration to the three-day event includes access to all of Xploration® 15’s 60+ educational sessions, panels, keynotes, general sessions, evening networking events, networking lunches and a breakfast on Thursday.

A limited number of exhibit spaces are still available. Vendors interested in becoming an exhibitor or event sponsor should contact Xplor’s Director of Sales, Deborah Green, at +1-770-444-3845 or via email at deborahgreen1@earthlink.net.

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: facebook.com/XplorInternational
Twitter: @Xplor_Int

Xplor International Media Contact:
Chad Henk, EDA
Marketing Coordinator
+1-813-949-6171
Chad@xplor.org

About Madison Advisors


Madison Advisors, an advisory firm, exists to advance the print and electronic communications objectives of Fortune 1000 companies. The company’s analysts provide advisory services for a range of content delivery strategies, particularly those addressing enterprise output technologies and customer communications. Through short-term, high-impact engagements (measurable in days or weeks, not months), Madison Advisors offers expertise and advisory services that directly help clients achieve hard and specific return on investment (ROI) related to their enterprise output goals and objectives. The company’s analyst team has an extensive background in the enterprise output industry, enabling Madison Advisors to offer its clients unique, objective perspectives and unparalleled guidance for their print and electronic communications initiatives. For more information about Madison Advisors, visit the company’s web site at www.madison-advisors.com or call (817) 684-7545.

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 www.xplor.org

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.” – ironpaper.com

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!

The ALS Challenge … Creating a Movement

If anyone ever doubted the power of social media you only have to look at the success of the ALS Ice bucket challenge. To date they have raised $79.7 million dollars significantly more (over 4x) than the $19.4 million in total contributions the ALS association received during the year that ended January 31, 2013.

Watching this phenomena unfold reminds me of a Ted video I watched four years ago on “How to Start a Movement”  A movement takes a leader, the first follower, second follower, more followers (more people less risky) … and it must be public.

The ALS challenge has all the components a leader, early participants and tens of thousands of followers. But is there more to it? Why did this turn into a social media bonanza?

ALS is no doubt a great cause but there are a lot of great causes. However, this campaign was the perfect storm. Take a great cause, couple it with a interactive media that reaches 500+M people, throw in the opportunity to do something a bit off the wall AND share it with your friends …. you have a movement. Successful marketing is about creating a movement. No matter what the channel(s)

Has your company created a marketing movement?

Since Xplor International is the association for the electronic document industry AND we think ALS is a great cause we are going to donate $5.00US to each of the first 300 people (up to $1500) who share their ALS video on the Xplor International Facebook Page – have some fun and help raise more money for ALS!

Here is my ALS challenge video: Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 12.48.11 PM

Donate to ALS: http://www.alsa.org/

Until next time …. Get wet!

 

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

RR Donnelley Buys Consolidated – Survival or Growth?


Early in my career I fantasized about the possibility that 100% of the businesses in the world, their economic output and profits were all the efforts of one person. Seems a bit farfetched but I always deemed it plausible.

Some of the United States most influential industrialists like Andrew Carnegie and Rockefeller had that dream, although those dreams were eventually dashed by anti-monopoly laws.

The Monopoly of Print?

When I heard of the acquisition of Consolidated Graphics by RR Donnelley I certainly was not surprised. Donnelley with a $3.26 billion dollar market cap acquiring a smaller entity with a $617 million dollar market cap. Each company has very respectable “revenue per employee” numbers in a very competitive market with $182,188 and  $197,919, Consolidated having the edge.

A quick look at their websites reveals complementary technologies and product offerings.  Both companies have lots of locations with Donnelley being more “global” with about 40 overseas locations.  A great fit.

Survival or Growth?

So what is RR Donnelley buying? Customers, technology, unique products, people resources or a corporate culture? Maybe all of the above. I am sure there are many that are simply saying it is part of the natural evolution happening in the industry of consolidation due to a shrinking market.  From the outside it certainly looks like this might be the case.

Appears to be the old “survival growth strategy” when a larger company in a declining market buys up smaller companies. Larger company experiences incremental growth and the industry goes on to fight another day. (Remember microfiche and the Anacomp buying spree?)

Not playing monopoly … Just smart business

My guess, is that RR Donnelley is not playing monopoly with the acquisition but is catapulting their evolution as “distributors” of information. It is about content and the delivery of that content utilizing a variety of channels that are instigated by print.

If you look at their websites there certainly is overlap but there are also plenty of differences which represent opportunity and growth. These two forward thinking companies are simply engaging in smart business and are well positioned for the future.  (Kind of like owning both Boardwalk and Park Place)

Survival, growth, monopoly or smart business. What are your thoughts?

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Are We Sacrificing Sales For Convenience?

A Mobile App or The Hot Dog Guy

One of the big joys in my life is attending sporting events whether it  baseball, football, hockey, arena football. There are some things I love and I hate about the experience.

Baseball• I LOVE to sit in the stands, do the wave, eat a hot dog and drink a beer
• I HATE to have to get up and stand in line for a hotdog and a beer
• I LOVE to sit in my seat and buy a hotdog and beer from one of the vendors
• I HATE when they pass my hotdog down the row and 10 people have their hands on it
• I LOVE not getting out of my seat, so I get over it them passing my hot dog

Throw the Hot Dog Guy Out

What if you had a mobile app that allowed you to sit in your seat key in your section and seat number and order whatever you want and it will be delivered to you right where you sit?  Payment is automatic, including the tip and posted to your account. No fuss no muss.

You don’t have to wait for a vendor to come by to remind you that you need another beverage or that your daughter wants cotton candy.

Would you download such an app? Well it’s currently being tested at Yankee Stadium in New York in Section 130 and is also being used in stadiums in Ireland and Australia. It seems just a matter of time to invade the US sports scene unless fans reject it …. which we should.  Click here to check out the whole story

Enough is Enough!

I know I said I hated to get up and stand in line but that is why they have the hot dog and beer vendors. These folks are going to lose their job. And what about the cotton candy guy making me look like a hero when she says “Daddy can I have some cotton candy, pleeeeaaaasseee” and she gives me a kiss on the cheek.

What are the owners thinking? How would I know I needed that second beverage, that bag of peanuts or a second hotdog if those wonderful vendors did not remind.

In my mind they are making a mistake and are going to lose money.  Am I going to download the app? I don’t think so. Are you?

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Addressing The Address Issue

No Address …. Really?

After coming back from Print13 I began my “post-tradeshow/event” ritual. It is the same for every trip I make:

  1. I go through everything gathering every scrap of paper whether it be business cards, receipts, brochures, etc. from my five day trip.
  2. I sort expense receipts by day, business cards with and without notes, notes from meetings and information that I want to read and review.
  3. Do my expenses
  4. Follow up on any action items I may have noted on business cards.
  5. Pass along business cards to be put in my database
  6. Follow up on any notes I have taken
  7. WRITE personal notes to people I met

I know personal notes are a dying tradition but I really think they are powerful and but I am starting to understand why fewer people write them.

I collected 31 cards from 16 different companies of which 12 individuals from six companies did not have a mailing address on their business card. That is 37% roughly of the companies.

Why do people do this? Do they save that much space?  So I go to their website and 4 of the 6 companies do not have their address under the “contact us” tab.

I sent them an email, requested their address and mailed them the note despite their best effort.

Can anyone tell me why you would not have your address on your business card or certainly some place obvious on your website?

Make Your Next Tradeshow An Event!

Are You Excited About Print13?  You Need To Be!

You book a flight, a hotel room and make sure you register for the free exhibit hall pass. You even sign up for a few conference sessions.  Where are you going?  To a tradeshow!

If you are in your mid-20’s you are absolutely pumped. A trip out of town, a few days away, most likely to a new city, all expenses paid. It doesn’t get any better than this. If you have been around the industry for 20+ years, you are either truly excited or saying “oh, boy another trade show,” with a great deal of sarcasm in your voice. Young or old if you are not excited get out of the industry and go do something else.

Two Types of Tradeshow People

Primarily there are two types of tradeshow people: the buyers and the sellers. Buyers attend to look at new products and services, get a little education and expand their network. Sellers attend to show the buyers their products, share their knowledge and hopefully become part of their network. The buyer/seller relationship can and should be a beautiful thing.

Young or Old Tradeshows Present a Unique Opportunity

I have been attending tradeshows for over 35 years and I still get excited going to one. Why, because I MAKE IT an event. I plan for it, I set expectations and I make sure my investment in time and money will pay big dividends and you should be doing the same thing too.

If you are a buyer tradeshows are a great opportunity to visit with a lot of vendors without being “overwhelmed” shall we say. My suggestion is to:

Put together a show plan:

• Write a list of any technology that your company is considering and cross check it with the exhibiting vendors on the tradeshow website. Do your homework on the vendor companies and visit their booths. Do some preliminary qualification.

• Allow blocks of time for “new stuff”. Large tradeshows are a mecca for new product announcements of products you may not be aware of. Make sure you look on the event website, onsite publications etc. for new technology announcements. The more you know, the better you can stay on the leading edge.

• Look at the available conference sessions. Pick a few that would expand your knowledge base and make you more valuable to your customers and company.

• Get on your social network and find out who is attending and meet up.

Work the plan and plan to work!

As a seller, where else can you hook up with dozens of customers and prospects without flying city to city going through security, eating airport food and getting back home grumpy and tired. Tradeshows can be a sales bonanza IF YOU PLAN!

• Contact ALL of your customers and prospects to see if they plan to attend. If you can, offer them free exhibit passes, an invitation to a company event, etc.  Even if they do not plan to attend they know you were thinking of them. It is a point of contact!

• Schedule appointments with your customers and prospects. If you have a booth, take them through the latest product announcements and/or new features.

• Check out your competition. (Get some free tchotchkes )

• Allow blocks of time to walk the floor and look at “new stuff” in your product category. The more you know, the better you can stay on the leading edge.

• Look at the conference sessions. Pick a few that would expand your knowledge base and make you more valuable to your customers and company. Learn a couple “techie” phrases. Goes a long way.

• Get on your social network and find out who is attending and meet up.

Work the plan and plan to work

Whether a buyer or seller expand and share your knowledge, meet new people and have fun. It should be.

My next tradeshow is PRINT 13 in Chicago September 8-12. Let me know if you will be there. We can hook up.

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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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