DIGITAL digestMarch 2009
LAS VEGAS—One emphasis for PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative, is its ongoing commitment to recognize real-life examples of exemplary digital printing and variable data strategies. The seventh annual PODi AppForum, held here recently at the Rio Hotel & Casino, provided the nearly 300 conference attendees a chance to hear from several of the 2009 Best Practices Awards winners first-hand during breakout sessions.
Although most of the top honorees this year were foreign companies, one entry from the United States was picked as a Best Practices winner—The Maine Office of Tourism in the Direct Marketing category. It worked in partnership with DMM Inc., Xerox’s 1:1 Lab and Terminal Van Gogh to offer custom travel guides based on the interests of people responding to questions on the tourism office’s Website. Adding personalization was said to have resulted in a 24.1 percent increase in response rate.
Several U.S. service providers did receive honorable mentions, however, including Metzgers Printing + Mailing, MSP Digital Direct, Action Mailing and DMM.
The event led off with a keynote address (delayed in order to let attendees watch the presidential inauguration) by Rab Govil, president of PODi and founder of Caslon & Co., which produces the annual AppForum conference and vendor fair. Govil outlined “best practices” that digital printing operations can adopt in a faltering economy. These include aligning one’s business to the new economic realities; investing in a core business driver, such as product innovation, customer service or manufacturing efficiency; delivering solutions that provide measurable ROI; avoiding the price cutting trap; and using capital more effectively and efficiently (build a variable, not a fixed cost, model).
Another engaging keynote was delivered by Liz Miller, vice president of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, who reported that the average job tenure of a chief marketing officer is 26 months—and dropping. When communicating with CMOs, she advised digital print providers to be strategic thinkers, to know the customer’s customer and to be prepared to prove the ROI of their solutions. “And, be brief, be brilliant and be gone,” Miller quipped.
Concurrent breakout sessions followed various tracks over the course of the conference. They included sales and business strategies; direct marketing; Web-to-print; and transpromotional printing. Topics discussed ranged from solution sales approaches to cross-media direct marketing campaigns, to Web-to-print storefront pricing strategies and transpromo document production, among others.