XMPie is sitting in the middle of the personalised messaging opportunity. Its software can direct a message to print, to SMS, to website landing pages, social media and more.
“We offer a software solution that creates multi channels with constant data and logic. GDPR is an opportunity for us and we have sold software off the back of a solution for email or for direct mail,” says Phil Gaskin.
All this sits within a single environment to output to paper, to a phone or to a screen that is straightforward to pick up and provides a relatively simple way to create a mixed channel campaign. It has been used in this way by RPM in Dorset to build a print, social media and email campaign for a project to support planting of bee friendly plants.
Arc-X is creating a marketing product that uses profiles for commerce customers to select matched products that become leaflets in the package, so offsetting the cost of delivery.
There are installations at Inc Direct, Potts (UK), Latcham Direct. In short XMPie spans the spectrum of UK print. It is not just these printers that have recognised the central role that this software provides. The company has been in something of a corner since acquisition by Xerox, but following the upheavals and reorganisation that started last year, XMPie has been pulled into the spotlight.
There are 7,000 customers worldwide, 85% considering themselves to be print service providers, and print remains the focus for most of what these companies produce. The challenge is to take the technology into the agency world. The success of this approach differs country by country. In the US for example, agencies and printers work much more closely together, a role that is taken by print management in the UK.
There are numerous others printers using this technology or similar applications from Objectif Lune, EFI or from the digital press providers. Ricoh has led the way to build a suite of tools through acquisitions and subsequent integration, but it is not alone. The tools exist and are relatively simple to combine with a database to create customised or personalised messaging.
“We have noticed an interest in using print as a mechanism to bridge into digital because while it’s not acceptable to send blind digital messages, it is OK to send a direct mail piece which has links to the web to complete a transaction,” says Gaskin.
“Consequently we have seen a lot of our customers using print in a different way.”
Chief among these is programmatic mail, where a personalised print piece is sent out according to a set of rules, generally where a customer has reached the checkout on a website but has not completed the purchase. After perhaps an SMS message, the customer is sent a letter urging them to return to the checkout and click ‘buy’. For further encouragement the communication might include a further discount or other offer to clinch the deal. It works. Digital shopping carts are no longer abandoned as frequently for companies that are using this.
“This is not the high volume direct mail that is personalised but has low complexity,” says Gaskin. “This is about the production of quality documents, less about personalisation, but about relevance now. It matches up with market research that consumers want to receive higher quality, well designed messages. We have seen a definite indication that some customers are doing more direct mail.”
The roots to this lie in the customer welcome packs that, say, those buying mobile from Carphone Warehouse would receive a day or two after buying a phone. That explained the details of the contract, stripped of all information that was not relevant and including some upsell opportunities. It relied on a definite action by the customer. The new generation is about the customer’s inaction.
XMPie also lies behind websites, populating templates for various types of form that a customer of an insurance company or financial services firm needs to fill in on screen. The software will also drive web to print portals, something that “has grown exponentially over the last 15 years” he says.
There are examples where printers are running B2B2C stores with XMPie underpinning the creation of calendars, cards and more. There is close integration with Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite and with APIs developed by some of its larger users to link to databases.
The real strength is that XMPIe is equally valid for smaller companies taking first steps into the cross channel and personalisation field. And there is a try before you buy opportunity, a SaaS version as well as server version. Others emulate this spread of options to lower the barrier to entry to driving this kind of targeted communication.
The Dorset wildlife campaign produced by RPM Digital combined personalisation and Facebook to drive awareness about the importance of looking after bee populations. But the bees did not know about XMPie.
By Gareth Ward
RPM Digital has used XMPie to run a cross media campaign for Dorset Wildlife Trust. People responding to a facebook post received one of a number of different packs dependent on whether they were expert or inexperienced gardeners, where they lived and other factors. XMPie has further been used to drive more content and keep those signing up engaged throughout the campaign.