Reviewing OutputLinks Communications Group Services
By Andy & Julie Plata
One definition of discovery is “seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.” One of the few leaders and visionaries of the print industry who embodies that kind of vision is Dr. Jacob Aizikowitz.
Jacob’s Ph.D. in computer science led him into a successful technology career. His business successes include innovative software developments, business startup, entrepreneurship, global business development, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate management.
Dr. Aizikowitz is also recognized for his entrepreneurship having founded XMPie, a high-tech CCM start-up in 2000. Through Jacob’s innovation and leadership, XMPie became a major force in personalized, variable-data print and cross-media communications. Six short years after its launch, Xerox acquired XMPie to strengthen its position in and beyond the print industry. Xerox also had the foresight to add Jacob to their executive team and have him continue as XMPie’s president for over a decade.
Now Helping Others
With proven success in the entrepreneurial and corporate worlds, Dr. Aizikowitz has now joined the OutputLinks Communications Group as a C-Level Advisor. In his new role, Jacob leverages his decades of international business experience to help executives and entrepreneurs accelerate successful implementations of their strategic initiatives. Business executives welcome the opportunity to have access to a proven resource that has successfully dealt with the same challenges and opportunities they may be facing.
|Jacob’s experiences with start-ups, software innovation, international business development, cross-border workforce management, mergers, acquisition, and corporate executive duties make him an excellent advisor or board member resource for future-focused companies.|
Since the inception of XMPie, Jacob has been intimately involved in omnichannel technology for business communications. One of his most valuable assets is his insights on future directions of omnichannel in personalized marketing communications.
In analyzing those future directions, Jacob has reviewed countless articles, blogs, and presentations extolling the many virtues of print as a marketing medium. He shares that many of those commentaries seem to follow the same well-worn path. Industry pundits outline all the advantages print provides including tangible, personal, familiar, creative, and versatile customer experiences.
However, despite the great number of studies and articles extolling the virtues of printed marketing collateral, Jacob notes that marketers have not substantially increased their use of print.
Quite the opposite has occurred. Print volumes are declining year over year. Industry research firm, IBISWorld, reports that print advertising expenditure has declined at an annualized rate of 17.7% over the past five years.
Often, the proposed solution to the decline to generate even more studies, articles, speeches, and infographics to increase the marketer’s awareness of print’s value.
After years of observing the “more education” approach, Jacob began developing a hypothesis on the true cause of the decline. He conjectured that solving the true cause would help CMOs increasingly recognize print’s value in their strategic marketing strategies.
Jacob hypothesizes that the problem is not a lack of CMO awareness about print’s value. Rather, it is print’s lack of alignment with digital marketing technology that currently dominates the corporate communications market space.
In the world of digital marketing, two adjectives describe the approach: online and integrated.
Typical Digital Mindset
Adobe describes the typical mindset of digital marketers this way. “To optimize your customer experience, you have to understand your customers, coordinate their experience across channels, and deliver the right experience in real-time and to the right channel.”
Jacob points out that digital marketing includes a wide variety of channels including social media, email, landing pages, blog posts, imaging, audio, and video. Because these are all digital channels, their integration and coordination, along all steps of the customer experience are relatively straightforward.
According to Jacob, seamless integration is where the disconnect arises for print-related marketing. The problem stems from the perception that print does not easily integrate into seamless omnichannel campaigns.
Therefore, marketers are treating print as a channel add-on that introduces complications in a campaign’s development and execution.
In Jacob’s words, “With most software technologies for print personalization, the way print is integrated with the mix of digital media channels makes it appear archaic, complex, slow, unnatural, or not current.”
Rather than a lack of awareness, the problem stems from an often-justifiable perception that print and direct mail are out of the loop and out of synch with digital channels. Even though printing now enables sophisticated customization through variable-data printing, its relationship to digital marketing falls short of the seamless objective 21st-century marketers demand.
All of the other touchpoints in the omnichannel process are online, updated in real-time, and integrated. While print media remains an outsider. Printing systems are updated more sporadically, and data finds its way into variable-data-printing software through separate offline processes.
Jacob’s hypothesis concludes that although marketers may recognize print’s value, it is considered an offline media that does not easily blend into their seamless processes. They find online, digital channels to be simpler, easier to control, and frankly, less stressful.
As Jacob vividly depicts it, “If you are a Chief Marketing Officer who wants to engage customers, you live today in a world that fully understands the use email, web, and social and video media. The experience in the digital space is that everything is connected on the spot. The operative word is online. Print is often a different story for CMOs.
To stem the declining use of print for marketing campaigns, the set-up process for print must seamlessly align with the set-up and execution processes used in digital marketing technology.
How to accomplish that seamless alignment goal will be the subject of the next article in this series. Jacob’s thoughts on the technical details behind the fragmented relationship between print and digital marketing will also be covered.
These are challenging times for our industry, but we are all facing them together. We believe that by facilitating the exchange of ideas, we can all discover new ways to build back better than ever. So, we invite you to share your thoughts on Jacob’s hypothesis related to the disconnect between the many benefits of print and its actual use in marketing campaigns.
Want to Talk?
We are happy to discuss how Jacob’s assistance could benefit your organization. To schedule a no-obligation call, touch the button below:
Thanks for Reading.
Stay tuned for our continuing Commentary on the changing print-tec industry environment and its effect on clients, employees, dealers, partners, and stockholders in the global print industry.