InterACT 2010; Social Media Do Not Change Marketing Basics The synergistic and integrated use of traditional print, online, social, and mobile media was the theme of the newest conference InterACT held in Rosemont, Illinois near O’Hara airport August 10-11. This was very much of a series of basic “how to” presentations and case studies. Each of the five highlights will be summarized and distributed separately so that readers can share pointed topics with clients and staff. These pinnacles include (1) marketing fundamentals, (2) state of Augmented Reality, (3) TransPromo into TransInfo, (4) Video opportunities, and (5) fascinating Hotels.com case study. The exploding statistics of social media and unbridled endorsement by advocates have been touted from conference podiums and blogs in recent months. The industry will hear even more at several upcoming Graph Expo seminars and webinars. This article, on the other hand, will focus on the potential and exciting use and impact these enabling tools might have for in-plant printers. Marketing Basics … the Alpha & Omega “Marketing has never been more important,” opined InfoTrends President, Jeff Hayes, as he introduced the keynote speaker at the inaugural InterACT Conference. “And yet various cross media and multi-channel venues necessary to get your firm’s and your client’s branding/marketing message across are more dynamic and … complex.” You need to develop new skills and expertise or find specialty partners, who can teach you how to incorporate these newest and scalable social media. It all begins with data whether it be proprietary client data or rented lists of prospects. The marketing message is targeted to a selection of clients/prospects with a “custom” offer, presented in a creative and appealing fashion via an integrated series of media channels with which the targeted market is known to be comfortable. Quantified objectives are set in advance with response metrics collected to analyze the effectiveness of each element of the marketing campaign. Lessons learned are documented and fed back into this “cycle” to improve the next iteration of the marketing campaign. The days of vast and extensive rollouts of a campaign are gone. “Gut feel and intuitive decision have a role, but should be reinforced with thorough data analytics,” remarked Hayes. The use of data analytics and its increasingly sophisticated software tools is a developed skill that is becoming increasingly essential. Software vendors will teach and knowledgeable consultants should be an integral part of the marketing team to assure that the response data metrics are being read with appropriate depth and breadth. Data is clearly King! InterACT was a little unique in terms of the number of start up firms present as sponsors. For example, Grow Socially is a company specializing in helping printers, mailers, and fulfillment businesses take advantage of social media opportunities. They help these vendors use the right tools, sites, and applications to define reachable goals, and increase their brand awareness and demand for product/service. At maturity their contracts will have start up fees of $9,500 and monthly fees of $950. At the start these costs will be discounted by as much as 50%. See www.growsocially.com The core competencies are data, content (defined by many clients as their intellectual capital), processing, integration of channels, and analytics. In-plant take away(s): How do your customers want you to communicate with them? Simply to assume that an automated e-mail … “Your job is ready” or an office voice mail message completes your obligation for timely communication is often shortsighted. This assumes that your relationship is a monologue, not a dialogue. An informal personal survey (conducted as a personal interview) asking whether each and every client wants you to contact them via voice or text message on their cell phone? If so what’s the number? How about after hours? How can the client be reached on a hot job or for a problem resolution? If we can’t get through to you, should we follow up with your assistant? If so, what contact numbers are appropriate? (Would be smart to confirm that method with the assistant!) Does each client have your personal cell phone number as well as e-mail address? Though data belongs to your client(s), e.g., prospective entering freshmen (or transfer students) for the admissions department, alumni for Development, and other alums for the Sports Department utilizing the latest Move Update software or Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMB) is the in-plant’s responsibility even if you don't inkjet the addresses. Your opportunity is to be the technical consultant assuring the highest probability of successful dissemination and receipt by intended recipient. In-plants are increasingly reporting to the IT Departments rather than Admin Services. This is in recognition of the In-plant’s increasing dependence upon digital graphics data and its associated IT expertise. Rest assured the IT Department head would much prefer that the In-plant own the responsibility that (1) each printing job to be mailed be compatibly designed to meet least expensive postal regulation format along with (2) assuring the mailing list is deduped and hygiene cleansed. And this technical oversight responsibility includes outsourced printing as well.