Printing, marketing worlds meet up in XMPie's new VDP software

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The worlds of printing and marketing are inching closer together all the time. The latest example of this shift is the addition of tracking capabilities to XMPie's variable-data publishing software PersonalEffect.

"Every customer wants one thing - they want to be able to advertise with confidence," said Mike Panaggio, founder and CEO of direct marketing services company DME Holdings, Daytona Beach, FL, about why marrying analytics with VDP is so important.

Recognizing early on the significance of being able to personalize marketing materials, DME has been engaged in one form or another of digital print since 1988. In 2003, it became one of the first adopters of XMPie software because of its ability to automate many of the steps involved in VDP, thereby saving DME precious production time.

The new tracking ability "is like the tracer bullets" for everything else DME is doing, Panaggio said. "The one thing that you have to have in direct marketing to be successful is the ability to track," he continued.

XMPie's PersonalEffect version 4.0, which was introduced last month at Graph Expo, enables users to track and analyze print, e-mail and Web campaign results in real-time using an integrated view of events, actions and individualized offerings, per recipient. Users can then immediately use the information to refine and improve a campaign's creative theme, messaging and offers.

"Most printers are waking up to the fact that they can't just print," Panaggio stated. By combining VDP with tracking capabilities, they can do a better job of "defending their position," he continued.

For example, as offline-to-online campaigns get more complex, the new tracking capabilities will enable printers to a better job of tweaking campaigns while they're still unfolding.

While DME doesn't have the new version of PersonalEffect up and running yet, Panaggio gave an example of the kind of complex campaign for which the software is likely to streamline production and offer better reports.

DME recently worked with direct marketing agency Haggin Marketing on the direct mail and Internet component of a new integrated marketing campaign for eBay that saw the online auction site mail out 4.1 million personalized catalogs to its best customers. Customers were divided into numerous segments and each segment was assigned its own URL address that was printed in the catalog. Catalog recipients who went to the URL saw a carefully edited selection of auctions based on their personal preferences.

DME will be integrating the new version of PersonalEffect into all aspects of its $110 million business, looking for ways to provide a relevant, connected experience to consumers.

Last year, Xerox Corp. acquired XMPie, New York, for $54 million as a way to capitalize on the growing trend of cross-media marketing campaigns involving digital printing, e-mail and customized Web sites.

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