I’m writing to you from within a post at the XMPie Users Group website. I’m the Executive Director of this vendor independent organization, true. Also true, that I’m using XMPie within my companies since 2008. Probably something new for you. For those who know me, I like conflicts, for a good cause. When starting nearly ten years ago with cross-media it was nice to see a graphic with a written name in the sand, have it printed on a calendar and found it funny to have it for several names. Do you know how many companies are still making money with this sort of product? Or how many ever made money? I would rather bet my money in Vegas, than on this. I’ve spent countless hours in teaching my customers how nice it is to create something individual or personal. Some projects worked, some don’t. Some customers got the idea and all relevant facts as better ROI, more profit, more success, the majority not. Is it because of my heritage, my market: Germany?
In the beginning I was convinced: yes, yes and yes!, Now in my tenth year working with XMPie software solutions I see it a bit different. Through my volunteering for and with XUG since 2012 (my first conference attendance was in 2009!) I figured out, that it doesn’t matter if you are working in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific or wherever my fellow peers have their business. It’s about transformation and the ability and willness to change.
From the start offering cross-media was missionary work, since a few years it is transformation and change. When highlighting these words it’s not about when you hear those words in conjunction with so often stupid arguments from any sort of consulting companies. You know, the ones worked once for a vendor, love to be on their own, or simply never reached their goals. These guys who never had to spent a dime into their own business, have never thought about the monthly costs of equipment, invest in hardware, really paid for something instead of asking to get everything as “experts” to trial and use for free. The ones who never were really responsible for their team, their families. These sort of consultants who tell you all about ROI, simply better sales and raising margins through buying something or add something to their business. You might agree that no-one in your company said ever hurray about any new sort of idea, product or process you suggested. Transformation and change is so deeply connected to fear. Here a lot of the above mentioned consultants often wrote some books about. Anyway, back to my headline: conflicts.
Here you go. Show your customers something new, give them the right arguments and even facts. As soon as your idea, product or service means change for your opposite, you are nearly lost in fears. I remember the marketing words regarding web2print. Oh, how great is web2print, or web-to-print, or #w2p. Yes it is. Yes it makes sense, yes it saves time and money. Yes it means your customer has more time. More time for what? They fear to lose their job as this process can now be automized. You see and have probably experienced for yourself how positive the reaction is from the C-Level and how negative it is when talking with the involved employees at the clients side. At this point it’s up to you to have an impact and the courage for a conflict or you move to the next.
Most failed, some succeed. The last years I invested so much time in teaching my prospects about how great cross media is. Wait! Since years it’s multichannel or better #multichannel, some say omnichannel. It doesn’t really matter. There is simply more than one or two channels within the marketing world. Even more than print, email and landing pages. The three topics mentioned in countless marketing messages from vendors of any sort of hard and software. The potential buyers outside of our industry are preferring multiple channels to connect with brands. You in your private life love to send a photo on Facebook showing you in the stadium while watching the game, right?
Back at your business you figure out how dramatically the market has changed. You thought once, you have the right technology, invested countless Dollars into hardware, maybe software. I experienced how hard it is to convince the potential customers with 1 or two channels, imagine how complicated it was to talk with them about a customer retention campaign, sending personalized mail pieces, guide them through social channels with a campaign hashtag to an event and make them communicate with the brand, spread the word and create sales. I had to change, I had to be curious. My team had to change, or the team had to change, when figuring out, that old school employees, not willed old able to learn and be curious, has to be replaced. How many processes has to be kept in mind and steadily monitored to be profitable? Conflicts all over the place. For me it was possible to make this step and survive within this faster and faster turning world, so far…
Conflicts, discussions and the steady curiosity for new things brought me to this point. Thanks Mum and Dad for teaching me how to use this skills and how to keep them alive within my daily job.
What is your story about your business and transformation? Your fears? Maybe you see it differently, maybe you agree, maybe you don’t care. Let’s meet and talk as peers, #XUG17Orlando is a good occasion to do so and spent money and time into meeting and networking about experiences with colleagues, a different frame than when attending sales related and focussed other events. And a last sentence to my fellow european readers. It’s also worth to spent the time and money and travel to the United States for this event. Meeting new people, broaden the horizon and save with a good Dollar exchange rate these days. See you in Orlando.