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Making It Personal at the 2016 XUG Conference

December 14, 2016

On the heels of our ninth annual XMPie Users Group (XUG) Conference, we at XMPie can’t help but feel energized about our industry’s present and future.

Just a few short weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting our customers, partners and executives in Atlanta, Georgia for a three-day event filled with engaging and interactive sessions spanning technical, creative and business domains. We went from detailed tutorials to grand visions of the future of print in just a few days. Attendees also enjoyed numerous networking opportunities, sharing knowledge and learning from each other’s experiences, and interacting directly with XMPie personnel. Events included a tour of HP’s impressive innovation center in Atlanta.

Keynote: XMPie 2016 Milestones & Accomplishments

Jacob Aizikowitz, XMPie President, kicked off the conference with a keynote presentation emphasizing the importance of holistic omnichannel customer experiences using both digital and print media. He illustrated how you can elevate print media to bring new value to customers by enabling highly individualized, creative and continuous communications.

Jacob shared a variety of significant XMPie highlights and milestones, including the following:

XMPie has a global reach, with clients in 99 countries.

We’ve introduced the capabilities of Open XM, the technology stack that gives customers access to the XMPie personalization engine, offering customers the freedom to use the tools of their choice for enabling impactful digital media communications.

We’ve established key partnerships and integrations with leading industry partners:

  • Highcon (new avenues to packaging);
  • Optimus (the integration of MIS and individualized print communication);
  • Handwriting.io (true-to-life handwritten messages across all media);
  • AccuZIP (streamlining direct mail workflows and address cleansing); and
  • PunchOut2Go (a gateway to eProcurement systems which opens the door for our customers to sell services to their enterprise clients).

Our Campaigns-on-Demand offering (available early 2017) makes it possible to create templates of complete campaigns, with multiple touch points and rule-triggered workflows. The campaign templates can then be selected, customized and personalized, and then launched through a web-to-print style user-experience.

Finally, Jacob stressed that advances in print technology, such as inkjet, are improving print capabilities with expanding options in quality, color and substrates, enabling more opportunities than ever before for personalized and customized communications across a variety of high-value applications.

The XUG Sessions: Highlights

XUG sessions covered a wide variety of topics, from “Big Data” to “Personalized Video” to “Open XM Goodies.” Below are some of the key takeaways from the conference, which align with some main focus areas for the new year.

Customer experiences need to be relevant and timely. The customer experience is the sum of all interactions that a person has with a brand. Delivering an engaging one can be a challenge because consumers today have higher expectations and they are using a variety of channels and devices. Stand out from the crowd by delivering communications that are truly relevant. Communicate using different media. Cater to the individual. Coordinate all those media touchpoints very precisely. Every stage in the customer journey is an opportunity for the brand to gain more insight about the customer and improve the interaction at exactly the right moment.

Print and digital are complementary forces. AlphaGraphics CTO Ryan Farris noted that digital and traditional communications are complementary – not competing. In today’s competitive marketplace, brands are all vying for the eyes of the consumers. Developing campaigns that stand out and grab consumers’ attention are essential for engagement and action. Think of print as the bridge to the digital world. As digital printing technology advances, capabilities like QR codes, near field communication and augmented reality open up opportunities for brands to make print interactive and coexist cohesively with digital initiatives.

Personalization is a powerful tool for your multichannel campaigns. Campaigns that are individualized will help deliver engaging and effective communications. The use of variable data, personalized images, personalized video and PURLs can all help drive strategic engagement. The interactions a brand has with a customer should ideally create a well-connected journey of inbound and outbound communications across different devices and different touch points.

Web-to-print technology is transforming the way providers do business. Web-to-print enables brands to generate business during off hours, strengthen customer relationships, ensure brand control and expand market reach. Make sure you invest in an online eCommerce system that can integrate with other internal or 3rd party applications and has capabilities for efficiently ordering customized and personalized print as well as automated multichannel campaigns.

In this digitally obsessed world, print stands out as a tangible communicating tool with a longer shelf life than a Twitter post. When we combine print with digital media, we can create powerful campaigns to reach wider audiences and connect the abstract with the concrete.

Thanks to XUG President Jeroen van Druenen of Jubels and XUG Executive Director Christian Kopocz of Prindoz for putting together a fantastic program. Stay tuned for news about next year’s conference.

Here’s to celebrating the power of print in 2017!

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