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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Interesting post by Ricoh on print communicaton business and the value of social media.

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Twitter is a treasure trove of content so rich with data that scientists are using it to predict when someone will get sick with the flu. But what value does this data mine bring to businesses and marketers?  Twitter first officially addressed some of its most loyal users – brands – with theintroduction of its “Promoted Tweets” feature in 2010, which allowed companies to pay for tweets to appear prominently in the timelines of their followers and users searching on specified keywords.  While it was a monumental shift for the successful startup in search of a business model, it only represented a small step in tackling an essential aspect of marketing – relevance.

As Dan Berthiaume points out in his recent column, Twitter’s new “targeted tweets” feature goes a step further in offering companies relevance by allowing them to send their Promoted Tweets to specific audiences based on new dimensions – such as location, platform and device. This is an important improvement for advertisers who previously had to choose between “spraying and praying” (e.g. sending a tweet about a US-only promotion to all of their followers) or repeating their tweet multiple times to reach their target audience  (e.g. tweeting time sensitive content several times to ensure that it reached various time zones).

Both choices left much to be desired – and risked much to be lost; mass tweeting meant many people received irrelevant offers and repeated tweeting meant that potentially interested followers were being turned off by redundancy (and disinterested customers were being annoyed multiple times). According to Berthiaume, “Every customer is of magnified importance to an SMB, so potentially alienating customers by sending repetitive or irrelevant tweets is especially dangerous.”

Targeted tweets not only represent a key tactical avenue for marketers who are in the deployment stage of a Precision Marketing campaign, they also symbolize how social media is reacting to what we call “The Relevance Era”- and how indispensible data and analytics are in successful marketing campaigns.  In addition to leveraging the immediacy of their medium, companies such as Twitter are also using the structured metadata associated with status updates such as geolocation and device information to help marketers.

But what about the data that makes social media “social”? In the world of data analytics and predictive modeling, social media is considered “free-form” data – it lives outside of rating scales, checkboxes and multiple choice options and offers a unique, valuable type of information.  Sentiment analysis of social media is increasingly being addressed by software (Twitter even allows users to search for positive and negative tweets) and companies such as Gaylord Entertainment effectively use social media data to monitor customer issues in real time.  While metadata is useful, perhaps Twitter will also allow marketers to target users based on more abstract criteria, such as sentiment and meaning, in the future.

As tablets and mobile devices drive social media’s popularity and increase its value as a decision-making tool, and as businesses turn to social media to increase the ROI of their marketing spending, social media allows business to address almost all the steps of the Precision Marketing approach: gathering data, analyzing and modeling, deploying and measuring.

One thing is clear, whether its direct mail, email, or social media – sending out a marketing message is just a start; precisely targeting the right message to the right audience via the right channels is the most important part of the battle for hearts and minds of customers.

Read more about how companies have effectively used social media in Sandra Zoratti’s new book, Precision Marketing: Maximizing Revenue Through Relevance.

 

Did you known that 30 times as much money has been invested in Print 2.0 technologies worldwide than in pure Web 2.0 applications? Yes? – And: Why is that the case?

Because Print 2.0 is primarily design to improve every kind of business communication and therefore to secure short-, mid- and long-term business success. Companies and organisations of every type expend 15 to 25 percent of their turnover on business communications including every form of promotional communications. That is why Print 2.0 puts the economy in a position to link communications and transactions, i.e. to integrate supply and demand without the requirement for mediators in the classical sense.

Beyond the technology innovation: what is strengthening the positioning of print in the communication matrix?

› We have to change perceptions about print as a medium and demonstrate coherently how print can be integrated perfectly well into the communication matrix. Like every other medium, print can only develop its full effect if it is deployed professionally and expediently and exploits all practical innovative options.

› New technologies are opening up new dimensions in terms of the way we consume information, whereby print is not simply a technological process that was subjected to innovation but rather print is a strongly expressive medium with communication and feedback effects, which can virtually never prove effective in this form.

› Print is used in context with other media, whereby print provides a unique customer experience due to the fact that personal experience can be reinforced in a special way through haptics and feeling.

› The future of print is digital whereby digital print can achieve more than online and virtual.

› The future of content/information is moving away from an emphasis on mass communications and is bringing the personal interests of the recipient — and therefore the relevance — into focus. Digital print provides everything necessary for this.

› Digital print increases sustainability and avoids waste paper by helping to transmit the right messages to the right recipients in a relevant form.

› Last but not least: as the global population is growing there is no doubt that the volume of print will also be able to increase provided it is possible to change the printed content in such that the contents are relevant and address the consumers’ needs and interests, which various technologies are making possible. Only then will contents also become usable. And what is not relevant will no longer be printed.

The spirit of innovation is encouraging change within the print market

The print sector is currently undergoing profound structural change. At first sight the impression could be reinforced that things are not looking particularly good for the disciples of Gutenberg. The business volume is shrinking under the influence of a multitude of factors, the most significant of which is the continuing Internet revolution. The national economies of the USA, Europe and Japan are limping along in terms of growth. And subdued economic development always has a direct impact on print volume.

So the challenge is to achieve growth beyond the stagnating traditional print markets. This will not happen just through innovative technologies alone but rather through their expedient application. New applications are required to reintroduce a sense of dynamics and prosperity into the print sector. These applications must enable the generation of so-called true-value-pages, which differ from mass productions in print. For mass productions are highly unlikely to enable earnings opportunities for everybody: the associated print volumes are decreasing and the excess supply is increasing competition.

› True Value Pages‹ are easy to characterise: The adhere to the principles of print-on-demand, web-to-print, personalisation/customisation and versioning as well as everything that can develop maximum effi ciency at the point of presence or point of sales. According to the new paradigm:

›The Fewer the Better‹. That means that printing houses and their customers should focus on the type of print production aimed at class rather than mass inasmuch as the printed material really provides added value rather than adhering to old habits.

The fact that this actually works can be seen by the example of HP and their customers: there was a 20 percent growth in the volume of printed pages during 2011 across HP’s entire digital printing systems portfolio (i.e. Indigo and Scitex), incidentally spread evenly across all regions of the world. Whether or not one can place too much stock in these figures, the fact is that the polarisation between traditional (analogue) and digital print productions is clearly delineated: analogue is shrinking whilst digital is growing strongly. And from decades of personal experience one can confirm that the growth explosion in digital print has already been going on for a long time, is unstoppable and cannot be reversed.

On the contrary: the new values of “everything-now-here-I-immediately” brought about through the Internet revolution can be perfectly serviced by the speed and immediate availability of digital printing technology. Digital print media is deployable and usable quasi ›any time anywhere and on-demand‹.

Unbroken print-innovation power!

The speed of innovation on the technology side is extremely high. We can all see and feel that on daily basis whether it be through customisation potential with print in direct marketing, photo albums or postcards, labels or packaging and many other types of sales materials. However the true dimensions of innovation in the field of print will only be experienced if not just the early adopters but rather the majority of us make use of it and if we profi t from it directly. The automotive industry, for example, was the first economic sector to have transferred the benefi ts of supply chain management to printed materials: for many years it has already been possible to customize operating manuals to match the specific model purchased by the customer. The print production is precisely coordinated with the timing and production sequence of the car. The manual is then delivered at the precise moment when the car is ready for delivery – no earlier and no later – and of course in the purchaser’s own language. In the meantime other industries have begun to follow this example. For after having been given to understand during the past few years that anything and everything should be virtualized, the need for relevance (and tangibility) has been sparked off. Print can be considered a relevant media if it is deployed and used in the spirit of the true-value-pages philosophy.

The fact is that the permanently stressed economic situation is accelerating the preparedness for behavioural changes. Big brand corporations (as the most signifi cant customers for print) need to face up to the change and are doing so. The cost-per-contact maxim is no longer valid, having given way to the notion of cost-perqualified-lead. That is to say: how effective and relevant is my communication?

Certainly email campaigns aimed a large number of unknown recipients are extremely cost effective to implement, but in the fi nal analysis do not produce satisfactory results let alone added value. The same goes for newsletter, which in the context of many others of the same sort, are no longer even noticed, or for low-cost POS/POP materials at the point of sale are hardly able to register any effect at all.

The demands of brand communications are encouraging a rethink

The fact remains that the above mentioned big brand corporations and even innovative print service providers are improving and expanding their relationships. Certainly that has not yet succeeded in an optimal or in the way it could do, but it is signifi cantly better than it was even fi ve years ago when print was still seen as a matter of habit or even as a medium of the past. Not only can the brand/print-buyer and print service provider relationship be improved by intensifying communications but above all if it proves possible to change perceptions in terms of the advantages of modern print communications. For decades printed materials have been regarded in terms of cost per page or printed product, i.e. purely as a cost factor – and not a modern medium, which reinforces the effectiveness of the modern communications mix.

Print was no longer thought of as being robust and profit making. Accordingly the purchasers of printed products focused on the reduction of the cost per page/printed product without evaluating the total costs, including the return on investment calculation as well as supply chain costs.

But based on many practical examples from all over the world we know and can document the fact that the way Print 2.0 works can signifi cantly increasing marketing success, if the conception and production of printed materials as well as print-based communication take full advantage of the innovative possibilities of modern digital technologies. Incidentally this does not only apply to business to business marketing activities. Interestingly our observations of HP show that the advantages of digital print are not only meeting with increased interest in the industrialised nations but rather in all regions of the world including emerging economies and the BRIC countries.

Innovation in the world of print knows no boundaries. The driving force in all of this are the brand owners, who carry out strategically precise analyses into whichcustomer touch point and sociological/socio-demographic patterns of customer behaviour are relevant. What is crucial in this is that even the so-called always on-consumers of the modern digital epoch can be positively surprised by innovative and relevant customer communications, which include print within the communication mix. In addition to this e-print and cloud print provide a bridge between the mobile and print worlds, whereby the production of printed materials is initiated and controlled via smart phones/tablets.

The new principle for print

›True Value Pages‹

Print-innovation technologies are entirely based on the laws of digital communications. Accordingly the contents that are to be printed need to be conceptually and in terms of their objective orientation tailored to the needs and behaviour of the recipients. It is necessary to differentiate between three types of content or printed pages:

› Low Value Pages‹

One-for-all publications with static content that is identical for all recipients. High Value Pages (in graphic group 3, right): personalised and/or customised printed pages used in direct mail communications and/or at the point of presence/point of sale.

› New Digital Value Pages‹

Based on so-called user generated content such as photo albums, blog-to-print or pedia-press (automatic printing of books from Wikipedia) among other things.

The volume of low value pages will decrease and barely still provide any opportunities to generate profi ts (neither for the purchaser nor for the manufacturer of the printed materials) unless the processes and production means are converted through the use of digital print technologies as are currently being developed in the form of high-volume, high-speed ink jet printing systems.

This story is been developed over the last two years by Francois Martin, HP, Worldwide Marketing Director HP Graphic Art Solution Business and Value CEO Andreas Weber.

See as well the related video conversation on YouTube.

To illustrate print in the public effectively not as a “looser medium”, there’s an urgent need for action, which has to be supported by a superior perspective. The following aspects turn out to be critical:

1. Innovations are hardly demanded: The possibilities and the advantage of the newest cross media technologies are deficient or not known by the majority of printers and customers of the print industries (especially the advertising agencies).

2. Irrationality of the markets creates pressure: communication has to accept flexibly the incalculability of the markets and the Ad-hoc decisions combined with it.

3. Efficiency of the processes is king: It applies for communication projects of the companies: half as expensive, twice as effective! Print media as a marketing instrument have to accept this requirement.

4. The print industry doesn’t communicate respectively does it in a wrong way: A continuous Dialogue, which creates overvalue and additional benefit is missing between customer, agency, printer and print technology developer.

5. From the masses- to plentiful individual communication: new technical solutions will have to allow individualized communication in the print media branch. This can happen through variable data as well as through on-demand availability of classical print products (keyword: print portals)

6. Communication becomes interactive: In the cooperation “company-customers-advertisers-media houses” new, dialogue- and response- orientated information ways are formed.

7. Process optimization alone is not enough: service providers have to network and to learn thinking networked.

8. Reorientation – from print to service: printer and their technology-suppliers have to comprehend that their customers don’t have a “print problem” but a communication problem. The result is the unconditional necessity of Repositioning and consulting orientation of their core business printing matter production.

 

Advice and recommandation

If and how print will be able to stand its ground is therefore dependent from how the communication market recognizes and appreciates the values which are connected to the print today and in future times. As a medium print can also stand its ground in the digital age and in the knowledge community without a problem. But the old business models of publishers and printers, which see print only as a platform for advertising receipts or data duplication, do hardly have a chance any more.

Language is our most important communication instrument. Communication needs media as means of transport. The technical media (typically embodied by the book) followed the personal media (represented by the human). This quantum jump needed millenniums to develop the required cultural techniques which were necessary therefore. Signs and picture elements, from which characters developed as a complex codification of human expressiveness, moved to the center.

The actual beginning of life is made by the script (Heraklit). Script is visualized language (Otl Aicher). The leading medium of the Gutenberg galaxy is the typographically script (Marshal McLuhan). The paper is its ideal medium. Printed paper allows duplicating ideas and cogitations in the form of text supplemented by pictures, colours and illustrations. The democratization of the knowledge of the world through the printing lead to a refinement and perfection of our communication possibilities: Beside the books came flyer, posters, newspapers, magazines, brochures – in short jobbing in unbelievable diversity.

Printed paper in the form of printing matters sparked a cultural bloom, which created the nutrient medium for the medium- and information age. Without printing matters radio and TV couldn’t have developed and established lasting in the public awareness. Just as little as the internet with its multi medial services of the World Wide Web. Electronic media are fleeting according to their appearance. They require a high technical access effort, but therefore have a virtual unlimited coverage.

Printing matters describe the ideal interface between perception practice through reading and perfect reading equitable information preparation for the human eye and brain. It applies the guideline: Electronics serve the visualization, print creates reminder values.

“What we see today on screens is on a the level of hot type!” (Hermann Zapf). Printing matters are not displaced through the electronic media, because the modern print- and publishing technologies are pathfinders and nutrient medium of digital media. A paradigm change takes place through the digitalization of print: Beside the mass communication comes an individualized communication. Print overtakes a leading function and integrates the electronics. Communication becomes interactive: printing matters can arise as quickly as a website; they respect individual information wishes and generate dialogues. That creates clearance for creativity and makes communication intuitional.

With it a central requirement is fulfilled, which was drafted by the communication searcher Marshal McLuhan like this: A model of intuitional communication is necessary to be capable of acting in the electronic age. On the one hand our culture will have changed in that way that it moves from the pure reasonable acting to intuition and creativity, on the other hand electronic media are creative and intuitional in their composition and handling.

“Future generations will no longer organize themselves according to political systems in regionally limited states in the future, but rather form themselves to global communities according to their communicative ability.”

Kenneth Joseph Arrow, around 1970
(Born August 23rd 1921, Economist and Nobel Prize winner in 1972)

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter and others show: Communication innovations based on truly good, new ideas are the engine of commercial success, especially if there are crises and structural changes to be mastered. The innovators model how the right balance between creativity and technology is created.

As already approved, the Internet does not pose to be a difficult, elaborate or expensive to distribute medium, but an area-comprehensive and inexpensively usable information and communication infrastructure based on digital technologies. This way the function and the usage of the media as we know it becomes less important. Reaching creative, intermedia communication systems and solutions based on new technologies that no longer cause breaks between information, advertisement, communication, and transaction becomes more important.

Doing the right thing to find what you are looking for

In order to regain balance between creativity and technology, the so-called creative heads from the business with advertisement in media must accept and understand the new role of digital communication technologies, which must always follow the principle of being “smart”, in order to be perceived as creative. In single cases, this already works: Apple has become a leading company that has mastered the transition from computer manufacturer to entertainment technology enterprise, and in addition possesses an incredible medial and emotionalising radiating power. However, Apple has never published its general philosophy in a White Paper, but by all means embodied and cleverly advertised the Digital Lifestyle through the person of Steve Jobs (and his followers).

In spite of all creativity and unbroken innovation drive, Apple stays true to itself and is still a high-tech company. However, mainly consumers are addressed and advantaged, meaning one acts on the levels of B2C. Whereas the boundaries are no longer clear, because many Apple-private-users do not want to forego Apple products at work. At least, it was possible to change our business lifestyle as well, driven by iPhone and iPad.

Definitions of terms

Creativity is an artificial word that appeared in England in the 14th Century, but has been in general use only since two generations. “Creativity” became popular as a term in order to form a counterpart to “intelligence” that had great influence over the intelligence tests invented in the USA since the beginning of the 20th Century. The Sputnik shock triggered a new way of thinking in the USA and Western Europe in 1957, as one could not believe that the Soviets were the first ones in space. The term intelligence is divided into two areas in science:

  • Crystalline intelligence, which includes everything the human is able to learn through fact knowledge and the experience knowledge that is built up;
  • Fluid intelligence that helps us, basically instinctively, to do the right thing for us without much contemplation.

Simply said: Both areas are coupled to the neuronal network in humans; crystalline intelligence promotes cultural development, fluid intelligence secures survival.

Contrary to intelligence, creativity is not obligatorily connected to the neuronal network. Our immune system is extremely creative, as it can develop millions of defence strategies in split seconds to fight intruders and make them harmless in the best case. In the Ancient Greek philosophy one spoke of the creative, that can give and take, and that was embodied by the figure of Eros. The Socratics see the origin of creative thinking in dialectics: Utter a thought, experience criticism, and this criticism leads you to re-think your original thought or opinion. The creative originates this process of critical reflection that profits from the power and effect of the dialogue.

In this respect, mass media (as they are not in dialogue) and also advertisement in these media is not creative, but an outflow of crystalline intelligence, whose effect is based on campaign ideas. Campaign ideas for advertisement in media use the principle of fluid intelligence; they must be driven by new ideas, to achieve effects especially in case of a poor to medium communication infrastructure in a team with mass media. As digitalisation, the Internet, W LAN, and the broadband networks that have perfected the information and communication technologies we have available, the value of the campaign ideas for advertisement in media is reduced, just like the traditional direct marketing campaigns characterised by push mechanisms, whose direct mailing are only still read by a single digit percentage of the target audience.

Technology appears as a term in the German-speaking region in the late 18th Century, and has its origin in the Ancient Greek (téchne and lógos, the production or processing teaching). Technology first describes the teaching or science of a technique. In today’s use of language, the term is frequently used as a synonym for technology. The term technology describes a method that is used to achieve a certain result. The term technology describes the knowledge in order to use these techniques (“How does it work? What experiences are there with it, what risks, and what possibilities?”).

Our communication — business as well as private, verbal or non-verbal — is determined through technologies in the shape of “Smart Technologies” that have their origin in highly developed information technologies. Smart technologies are not only limited to the invention and the construction of products or devices, they also always include the design, the aesthetics, points of interaction with the user, the operating menu, and convenience. Smart Technology-development is a highly creative process. And if you talk with top developers in Silicon Valley you are able to understand this and learn, that Smart Technologies always include all relevant communication and interaction aspects.

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