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New technology platforms have arrived and consumers now have a point of comparison with new content options. Traditional CCM channels are relying on customer experience management (CXM) to focus on improved customer experience. A good example of this is traditional CCM (Customer Communications Management) platform providers like Quadient now describing themselves as being in the CXM market. (ie) their solutions improve the ultimate customer experience. As a result of new user managed platforms, there is a rush to move with the shifting technology and in order to ensure sustainable future print companies need to upskill their technology. In a recent article written by Cumulo9 General Manager David Allen he discusses how you can make dollars from data, our latest blog summarises the papers key insights. 

Print businesses may try to stay clear of jobs involving variable data due to its complexity. In today’s media landscape some of the largest companies such as Netflix, for example, know our preferences as a consumer and in return we expect them to be responsive when we engage. Companies can now collect our personal data online and use it to target us with content. Many other large organisations such as Airlines and Google understand and utilise these techniques as well.

Various businesses are welcoming the option to use email (eDM), social media, apps, and other forms of digital marketing. These new marketing channels are proven to co-exist with traditional forms of print. Companies that have always relied on older forms of technology are now scrambling to catch up with the rest. For example, Sky TV does not rely on individual preferences however the service has managed to stay successful for over 20 years – will that be the case for another 20 years though?. Direct mail, for example, is a tool that has proven to work well but is being used less at the expense of new technologies.

Maintaining Relevance

Print companies need to shift their focus from volume to value. Maintaining relevance with customers is critical and an important tactic is to ensure you continue to add value to printed items you may be managing. For example, you could offer versioned options or shorter print-on-demand runs. Printers are in a key position to see what’s going on with customer processors to make enhancements. In the future customers may move to online forms or to suppliers that offer something different from their communications. There is a growing opportunity for printers to become consultants, to advise customers on how they can turn static documents into highly personalised ones. In some cases, printers have become fully digital or are following the trend to progressively replace aging offset platforms with digital alternatives.

Customer Focus

There are options in training existing prepress staff, or you can bring in new people who already have variable data printing skills. There are now document composition platforms that incorporate data manipulation functions. These software platforms like Quadient Inspire will allow you to manage files in any format and then carry out the various functions that are typically required as part of a VDP job. Quadient Inspire gives you control over the systems and processes used to design and deliver traditional communications across all channels. 

For mail items there are postal requirements such as SOA, a statement of accuracy, part of the send right program run by New Zealand Post. There are licensed providers of SOA software and printers might outsource this requirement. There is a difference in workflow and operational management, as every page now needs to be controlled. You will need to be familiar with the finishing process, this might be using your own inserter booklet maker or wrapping machine.

PrintNZ offers training in variable data printing and the suppliers of composition software also have training programs. The software suppliers in the documentation composition and data space have evolved their offerings and now describe themselves as being in the customer communication management (CCM) market. 

As software providers focus on end-customer needs the CCM definition is converging with CXM focusing on monitoring customers' journeys. Print has now become a small portion of campaign spend which is why it is important for printers to shift their focus. In today's media world a publisher's audience is their money. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, feel free to contact us to discuss the best digital communication solutions for your evolving business.

David Allen
David is the General Manager of Cumulo9 - a manic net-worker who embraces new technology and who sees selling as a natural extension of what he does best - that's building relationships, be they internal or external and then over delivering against agreed goals. Business these days is all about being nimble, fresh and relevant, but at the same time everyone needs to make money, so delivery of the "promise" is everything.
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