Author Archives: Joe Manos

About Joe Manos

Joe Manos is an Executive Vice President with MindFire Inc. He brings TheDigitalNirvana over thirty years of experience in virtually all operational components of high tech companies and expert perspective on providing integrated business solutions to the Graphic Arts community, as well as Corporate Enterprise Clients. An experienced entrepreneur, Joe has helped build three Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology companies, from the ground up into industry-leaders one of which earned INC500 status the last two years. Ed was a Founder, President and CEO of the industry leader in On-Demand Delivery Services (hardcopy and e-books) to the Book Publishing Industry. He is a published author of a book titled The Loyalty Payoff, and is a frequent speaker at professional conferences. Ed received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Temple University and MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Drexel University.

The Fear Factor! Musings from the PODi AppForum

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Picture of Joe Manos EVP Mindfire Inc.I just returned from the PODi 2011 AppForum in Las Vegas.  It was a great event and my colleagues and I had an opportunity to meet with many of our customers in addition to many Print Service Providers (PSP’s) trying to find the “silver bullet” for new revenue growth. During my flight home I was thinking about the many attendees that regularly attend events like AppForum and get all fired up about exciting new opportunities for growth and then go back to their business and continue to do the same things, day in and day out.  By doing so they miss out on the success that others enjoy.

I thought about this and I identified a possible reason that Print Service Providers (PSPs) don’t “embrace change” and continue to use the same approach for their business.

I call it – The Fear Factor!

Let me explain.  During this year’s PODI AppForum there were many excellent presentations where PSPs demonstrated how they had embraced new solutions and were growing their business in many new, exciting areas of opportunity.  Several Print Service Providers (now Marketing Service Providers) introduced example after example where they had generated millions of new printed pages (higher value pages with new services) as a result of embracing change in their business and building new capabilities.

Was it easy – NO!  But is it possible – absolutely!

Why is it so difficult to embrace change?

Here’s a short list of PSP Fear Factors that have been shared with me over the years:

  • The FEAR of failure
  • The FEAR of change on their business
  • The FEAR of change on their customer
  • The FEAR of their competition
  • The FEAR of change on their employees
  • The FEAR of a new technology impact in their organization
  • The FEAR of commitment to something new and the learning curve
  • The FEAR of “can the sales team sell new offerings”
  • The FEAR of any change on core offerings

Every one of these concerns is valid and worthy of further analysis.  Rather than viewing these concerns as threats what if we viewed them as opportunities? As executives continue to face the fear of the unknown they will just as quickly tell you that they are working hard for business improvement. The executives I have spoken with will typically tell you that they would like to achieve improvement in the following areas

  • Grow top line revenue
  • Secure new customer wins in new areas of opportunity
  • Improve shop floor efficiencies
  • Lower production costs
  • Grow bottom-line profit
  • Grow the business with new capabilities

If executives seek business improvement, but at the same time, fear the changes that drive it, what should they do?

Here’s a short list that might help answer that question.

  • Identify market opportunities that complement your business capabilities
  • Identify services that are an extension of your business
  • Build capabilities that your customers are investing in
  • Seek market opportunities that are generating significant growth
  • Invest in the necessary resources for success
  • Make the time to meet with others that have made the journey successfully – learn from them
  • Identify partners that have the means to help you achieve success
  • Do the research, embrace the change and develop a plan for success

There are just too many examples of new growth in our industry to not pay attention to how this is being accomplished and to learn from it!

In closing, there are a number of significant growth arenas available to every Print Service Provider in the industry.  The growing number of successful companies achieving business transformation is a reality!  Fear is good as a guide to what you need to plan for but not if it leads to paralysis.  Embrace the growth opportunities in front of you, learn from others and find the right partners for success!

Tracking and Measurement for Integrated Marketing Services

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Picture of Joe Manos EVP Mindfire Inc.For most marketing service providers the number one focus area for the customer relationship is delivering improved campaign results utilizing a cross media, multi-channel marketing  approach. One area taking a back seat to the overall campaign strategies is the tracking and measurement of campaign ROI.  The reason for this is simple.  It isn’t easy to do and with the growing list of marketing media being utilized the challenge increases.

Marketers are under intense pressure to generate improved results for all marketing activities and to deliver an acceptable ROI for each activity.  Without the ability to measure at a detailed level they don’t have the ability to fully evaluate which activities are meeting their objectives and why!  Two dynamics that are on the increase that make this area more important than years past are:

  • The average number of cross media touches per campaign
  • The number of personal channels for each consumer

Number of Cross Media Touches

According to an October 2010 InfoTrends in-depth study entitled Capturing the Cross Media Direct Marketing Opportunity, the study reported a shift toward not only using more electronic and online marketing, but also more channels. The survey results indicated that marketers are using an average of 2.7 media channels per campaign. Another revealing data point was that 53.1% of marketers are using 3-5 marketing touches per campaign! This data clearly illustrates how quickly marketers are evolving their tactics to leverage the improved results of more personal and relevant communication across multiple touches.

 Number of Personal Channels for Each Consumer

The other area on the increase is the area of personal channels.  Recent studies have confirmed that the average consumer can be reached on an average of 7.2 channels in today’s world, most typically:

  • A landline phone
  • A mobile phone (this counts as two channels when you consider voice and text)
  • A Skype account
  • A Facebook account
  • A Twitter account
  • A personal and business e-mail
  • Membership in online forums with private messaging facilities (e.g., LinkedIn)
  • A home address for traditional mail

In addition, you have to add all of the mass media in use and remember that the overall goal is to optimize and maximize each touch for improved visit and conversion results.  Study data indicates that 55% of marketers today don’t have a “formal” tracking and measurement program in place.  The number one reason is it is difficult to accomplish and they lack the resources to get it done.

Marketing Service Providers have an opportunity to help the marketer in this critical area.  To do so, you have to make it a part of your initial discussion on marketing objectives, typical conversion levels and ROI for all media in use.  Typical questions such as, “How do you capture the visit and conversion levels for each media touch in use for your campaigns” and “How do you identify non-responders for each media touch” are two examples of information you will need to gather.

Critical Tracking and Measurement Dynamics

As you work with the marketer, there are a number of areas that they will need to track and measure on a daily basis.  Let’s look at some of the most important:

  • Prospects that respond to a campaign (typical visit and conversion rate)
  • Report “real-time” tracking and measurement for all media used in the campaign
  • Leads Generated by rep/region
  • Activity by responder
  • Message Reporting – email, SMS, QR Codes detail about all deliveries
  • ROI – calculate Marketing ROI per campaign
  • Any click on a redirect link to other sites and documents
  • Click – through to online purchase sites
  • Compare contrast: email response rates vs. direct mail and QR Codes
  • Blind captures/Refer a friend/Social Media responses (how many organic touches led to new opportunities and contact information)

Providing the marketer with this information in a fully automated marketing dashboard empowers them to really understand what their actual results are and where campaigns or media are not connecting with their prospects.  Having this information is the first step to making course corrections in their campaign approach and media usage. It provides the foundation for long-term success of all programs and allows your company to be pivotal to that success.

CMO’s 2011 Priorities

This month the CMO Council shared research on the top priorities for marketing executives for 2011.  One of the top three was” build stronger customer intelligence” and that requires online marketing intelligence gathering as well as tracking and measurement. The other key finding is that lead generation and qualification is one of key areas of investment for CMO’s in 2011.

Marketers realize that this is one of the top priorities for 2011 in addition to driving more revenue into their organization through cross media, multi-channel marketing. If a Marketing Service Provider wants to create more value and connect with marketing clients, they will need to make tracking and measurement one of their key offerings!

New Skills for New Services

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Picture of Joe Manos EVP Mindfire Inc.In an earlier post “The Next Generation of Print –Evolve or Die!” I discussed the changing landscape of today’s Print Service Provider and the need for evolution. I made the point that in order to achieve success you have to identify the new dynamics associated with the new solution. I also noted that many companies acquiring new solutions fail to develop a comprehensive plan before going to market. They go right from training on the solution into the field (or onto the floor) with exactly the same approach that they used for their traditional offerings. This is a doomed approach.

With that in mind let’s discuss the new skills for new services that are required for success with a new solution.

First of all, the skills needed will depend on the new solution that you are bringing to market. If the solution is an extension of your existing print services, many skills you currently possess will not change radically. But if you are moving into a new area of opportunity like Integrated Marketing Services there will be some new skills required for success.

Let’s review some of the technical knowledge required for success:

  • The ability to populate and share content in social media and online communities
  • Internet media channels
  • Mobile messaging
  • QR codes
  • Google ad words and PPC (Pay Per Click)
  • Print as part of an Integrated Marketing Campaign

Now let’s take a look at  how each functional area of the business may be impacted. Each group will need a number of important skills before working with customers and prospects. Here’s a short list to get you thinking:

SALES
  • Sales training on the overall value proposition, how to “approach” and “present” to the customer and how to    engage the customer/prospects with the solution meeting their needs
  • Technical training on the various use cases to meet different customer need
  • Proof cases on different implementations for success
  • Development of new decision maker contacts
CUSTOMER SUPPORT
  • Solution training on all of the functional capabilities
  • Best practices for campaign success
  • Typical design and customer campaign configurations
  • How to discuss current customer needs as it relates to new projects
PRE-PRESS and PRODUCTION
  • It depends on how deep these groups will be involved in the actual creation of campaign versus pure production of the campaigns
  • At minimum, the key elements of a campaign and best practice personalized elements of finished goods
  • How the data base is appended for campaigns
  • Advanced functionality like Personalized QR Codes versus standard QR Codes
CREATIVE SERVICES
  • Comprehensive technical training on how to create and deliver campaigns
  • Advanced design elements for special campaign needs
  • Best Practice use case methodologies
  • Advanced functionality training for varying needs
OPERATIONS
  • New pricing parameters for Integrated Marketing Services
  • Each campaign is unique – so is the pricing
  • Sales compensation changes – more profit
  • SOW requirements and associated processes
  • Payment upfront (50%) to start project – balance due at campaign launch (50%)

As I mentioned earlier this is simply a short list to get you thinking but it clearly demonstrates the need for effective planning, training and execution across the entire organization.

I would also suggest that you can’t do it alone. You are running a full time business in a changing environment. You need to have a partner to help you make the transformation. The good news is that there are many resources available to you in this area. The even better news is that hundreds of service providers just like you have made the journey successfully.

If you need more information on the options available to you please do not hesitate to ask for help.

Making the case for adding Integrated Marketing Services

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Picture of Joe Manos EVP Mindfire Inc.In my previous post I talked about the key factors took look at when considering expanding your services offering. One market opportunity that has been targeted for explosive growth is the area of Integrated Marketing Services. 

Integrated Marketing Services (or Cross Media Marketing) is the all-encompassing term for launching one marketing campaign across a spectrum of media formats connecting with the target audience on a  more personal and relevant basis.

For many Print Services Providers this is a natural extension of your services business and – armed with the right training and tools – you can launch a new customer offering successfully. Let’s say you were considering Integrated Marketing Services or Cross Media Marketing as a market opportunity.  Starting with the end in mind, are the prospects for long-term revenue growth good?

According to Forrester research, marketers are going to spend over $55 billion dollars on Integrated Marketing Services through 2014.  When you add all of the other services that fall under the marketing umbrella the number is over $150 Billion. This is definitely an area that qualifies as a high growth opportunity worthy of consideration!

With the rapidly changing marketing landscape, marketers are evaluating all aspects of how they “connect” with their prospects and customers.  They are leveraging a vast array of new Cross Media Marketing tools to drive improved results. This impacts your company because they are looking for “partners” that can consult and recommend new media use cases for success.  This leads to the question – “Are you a partner or a vendor to your customers?”

We are currently experiencing a dynamic shift in the print industry which is creating a number of implications for all service providers.  Cross Media and Web-to-Publish services will impact traditional printing and Web-to-Print.  Businesses will form partnerships or acquire the new skill sets to participate in data analytics and behavior modeling.  No service provider will be successful if they can’t quantify and communicate their value proposition and provide the ability to measure their effectiveness for their customer.

What’s the key for success in 2011? Providing high-value services to your customers that they want and need that meet their objectives and deliver quantifiable results that improve ROI.

The Next Generation of Print – Evolve or Die!

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Picture of Joe Manos EVP Mindfire Inc.

Joseph Manos, EVP MindFire Inc.

The number one priority for every business is revenue growth. Leading print and marketing service providers have learned that working more closely with their customers is critical for success. They are focused on offering services that bring the most value to their customers.

Many industry studies support the fact that marketing professionals – today more than ever – are tapping into the digital, interactive world of personalized cross-media marketing opportunities.

Based on this important customer dynamic it is critical that service providers evaluate how they can create more value for their customers in the form of high-value services.

As our industry continues to evolve as a result of internal and external factors one message is clear – Evolve or Die!  A service provider cannot afford to remain static and continue to offer the same services if they expect to grow their revenues in a world where customer needs are changing at a very rapid pace.

In these circumstances, many seek new solutions to help them.  There are numerous technologies under consideration, such as W2P, VDP, PURLs, Image Personalization, QR Codes, Augmented Reality and the list goes on…

As one would expect all of the technology vendors claim they can grow your business. But is that true?

  • Why do some service providers continue to grow while others don’t?
  • Why do similar companies with the same solution set achieve different results?
  • How can you know what will work for your company?

Yes – new solutions can drive improved results!  But, only when it is the right fit for the customer’s overall objectives and needs.  In my experience, often service providers approach their customers’ needs in terms of features, functionality and capabilities instead of meeting specific customer objectives through a well designed strategy (where the solutions are orchestrated to deliver specific customer results!)

As you consider how to create new revenue in your business let’s start with where you are today.  There are only a couple of ways to create new revenue in your business:

  • Sell more of your product or service to existing customers
  • Provide your product or service to new customers
  • Offer a new product or service to existing and/or new customers

Keep in mind that new revenue opportunities (new product or service offering) for your company don’t all offer the same return on the investment of time and resources to your organization.  The solution you offer may be price sensitive or commoditized.  In many cases, new high-value products or services offer significantly higher profit and ongoing revenue growth opportunities. But there are other considerations that need to be evaluated as part of the decision to move to a high-value service offering, such as:

  • –        What are my customers’ needs that I can address NOW?
  • –        Do I have the internal capabilities for new services?
  • –        Does my sales staff have the necessary capabilities?
  • –        Which markets offer growth and long-term opportunity?
  • –        Should I invest in more hardware or software?
  • –        Will I commit the necessary resources for success?

Just acquiring a new solution won’t automatically guarantee your success.  Regardless of the technology selected do sales just start flowing into your organization because you purchased a new solution.

Of course not!

In order to achieve success you have to identify the new dynamics associated with the new solution, such as:

  • What areas of your organization are impacted by the new solution?
  • What new skills are required to meet your customer needs?
  • What processes are needed or change?
  • How does the new solution impact your sales process and target audience?
  • What is your messaging and value proposition?
  • What’s the target audience for the new services or capabilities?
  • How are you going to identify ideal customers for the new offering?

The number one failure point for companies acquiring new solutions and going to market is the failure to develop a comprehensive plan. In many cases they train on the solution and then go to market with exactly the same approach that they use for their traditional offerings.  This can become a serious issue when the decision maker level for the new solution changes or the complexity of the service offering increases.

This approach causes new sales results develop at a much slower pace than anticipated.  Frustration grows, desperation sets in and poor decisions are made that can have long-term consequences.  Maybe you lower your price to get business in the door to feed the press, drive W2P adoption or create a need that isn’t there.  Once price is lowered it is very difficult to move the bar back up with customers.

Start with the end in mind.  What are your long-term objectives for this new area? What investment do you need to make in your organization beyond the technology for success?  What additional “tools and training” do you need for all areas of your organization to successfully achieve your long-term objectives?  Will the market support long-term revenue growth?

Integrated Marketing Technology is not a panacea – but with the right fit, the right strategy and the right execution it might make the difference between growth or decline for your company in 2011.

Editor’s Note: Joe Manos is an Executive Vice President with MindFire Inc. He is joining the DigitalNirvana team of bloggers in 2011 for a weekly series on the various factors affecting if, when and how printing firms can successfully add integrated marketing services to their menu of offers.  Please join me in welcoming Joe to the team.