CROSS-MEDIA services go hand-in-hand with digital printing and variable data. Two companies with lengthy digital printing experience, as well as two newer adopters, illustrate that point.
To be a cross-media company means bringing in IT expertise or training internally. It means convincing customers that the company is capable of services beyond print. And, above all, it means consultative selling and “walking the talk” with cross-media marketing campaigns that show customers the power of this approach.
Serge Grichmanoff, vice president of research and development at Avant Imaging & Information Management (AIIM), tells how in the early 1990s the company’s founders took the job of creating the Toronto Real Estate Board’s listing books from a 12-day process to four days plus a day for delivery by going digital. They gave digital cameras to key real estate people, wrote the software to collect the data and printed on a fleet of Xerox DocuTechs. “That was huge,” he says. The company still writes its own software for certain applications, primarily for data processing, CRM and Web order management. For variable data and personalized URLs (PURLs) they use Darwin, Bluestream and XMPie.
Mario and Frank Giorgio founded AIIM as a commercial printing establishment in 1990. Today, the 100-employee company, located just north of Toronto, offers 1- to 10-color offset printing and digital color and black-and-white output. Color digital presses include an HP Indigo 5000, a Xerox iGen3 and Xerox DocuColor 2060. Monochrome output is provided from various Xerox, Océ and Ricoh devices.
In addition to one-stop commercial services, AIIM offers database management, analytic services and e-mail marketing. Through aiim•Connect, the company’s Web-to-print portal, customers can access a suite of Internet-based workflow management tools. These include online template composition, digital asset management and more.
Grichmanoff says their real entry into color variable data marketing programs came in 2005 when they installed the iGen3 press. The 5000 followed in 2006. “The key thing for success is to gather the right resources and the right people,” he says. Market research the company did at the time also led to stepped-up customer contact. “With all the work we had done with our customers and our slick digital infrastructure, we thought they would identify us in our survey as leaders in the digital marketing space” Grichmanoff recalls. “Instead, we discovered that people viewed us as a trade printer. It was a rude awakening and led us to a path of re-inventing our marketing approach.”