The benefits of taking a holistic approach to cross-media services
Think Digital recently interviewed Sigi Alder, one of Canon Switzerland’s experts on cross-media about the benefits for print service providers (PSPs) of taking a holistic approach to cross-media. He explained how Canon Switzerland is supporting PSPs who are introducing cross-media services to open up new business opportunities and tap into new revenue streams.
Why are the PSPs you work with becoming communications service providers?
Consumers today are becoming more and more demanding about how and when they want to be approached by companies, which has increased the need for integrated communications across multiple channels. While conventional multi-channel campaigns are often limited to simply communicating the same content across different channels, with print being only one, cross-media campaigns involve sharing different but complementary content across multiple channels.
Printed material can play an important role in cross-media campaigns by capturing the recipient’s attention and then directing them to online content. However, many of the professionals who find themselves buying print services today are also looking for partners who can help them to achieve their marketing goals by integrating and automating their marketing across every one of their channels.
Innovative PSPs are aware of this trend and of the challenges that it presents for their customers, which is why they are working to adapt to this new multi-channel communications environment. By developing a holistic cross-media offering that enables them to help customers spread complementary content across multiple channels, achieve more effective communication and measure the responses to it, PSPs can access new business opportunities and tap into new revenue streams. Introducing cross-media services can also put PSPs in a position to use and maybe even manage customer relationship management (CRM) data, thus enabling them to build longer-term relationships with their customers.
What are the challenges that PSPs face when they decide to expand into cross-media?
The first challenge that PSPs face when introducing cross-media services is the shift of mind-set that is required. They need to recognise that cross-media is not about selling print, but about looking for ways to help their customers communicate more effectively. Selling cross-media services entails really supporting the customer and it’s essential to adopt this approach right from the outset.
Once they’ve got their approach right, PSPs need to understand that cross-media is not only about integrating complementary messages across multiple channels; the response and feedback that are obtained from campaign target audiences are equally important. This is because cross-media is not only about integrating channels, but also about building on intelligent mapping of data gathered through customer relationship management. As a result, PSPs will need to ensure that they have the capabilities and workflow capacity to handle customer and prospect data when they take the step from simply offering the variable data printing (VDP) elements of cross-media campaigns to offering full customised cross-media communication services. This can be a big challenge, but is one that can be overcome with the right support.
What support does Canon offer its customers in cross-media?
In addition to the software solutions, professional software training and customer support that we offer, at Canon Switzerland our cross-media specialists work closely with our customers to find the appropriate strategy for their specific business circumstances. We can also provide support with implementing their new business ideas and even provide hands-on assistance on implementing individual campaigns. We’ve supported some customers by setting up marketing automation templates for them, and advised others on new business areas that they could expand into. By offering this support and advice, we are able to help customers ensure that they get the most out of their investment in cross-media.
Is there an example that demonstrates this?
There are many! We’ve worked with more than 20 customers in Switzerland over the past few years – ranging from PSPs through to advertising agencies – helping them to ensure the cross-media services they set up are not only profitable, but also differentiate them from their competitors.
One recent example is Rohner Spiller AG, a PSP with clients in the fields of architecture, planning, engineering, retail and professional services. By using cross-media communications and automating marketing processes, we have helped them to produce higher response rates for their customers than were possible with print-only campaigns. The company has now reinvented itself as a cross-media communications provider, implementing successful new campaigns ranging from simple personalised newsletters to extensive print-to-web campaigns. The managing director tells us that this has been well received by existing and prospective customers, and that the success has been highly motivational for his team.
Marketing automation software brings sales and marketing together and plays a pivotal role in managing the customer’s journey from being made aware of a product or service to actually making a decision to purchase. It not only makes it possible to automate the process of sending marketing materials, but also to track and analyse the interactions of potential customers across multiple platforms. Evaluating these interactions allows for more effective management of cross-media campaigns by continually assessing the effectiveness of each ‘touchpoint’ in the customer journey and using this knowledge to shape the next interaction with the customer or prospect.