The Café has completed the first successful year of its European tour. It has brought marketing and printing professionals together to learn the importance of cross-media and personalised communication in effective marketing campaigns. After kicking off in Lier, Belgium in October 2010, the Café visited a number of European cities including Modena in Italy, Düsseldorf in Germany and Istanbul in Turkey, before returning to Belgium in June this year.  

The popularity of the event at each location highlighted a clear need amongst printers and marketers to understand the changing dynamics of offline and online marketing. Through a combination of presentations, panel forums and open discussions, attendees gained valuable insight into the importance of cross-media and personalised communication in effective retail marketing campaigns. The Café will head back out on the road shortly with stopovers in both France and Bulgaria.  
We were very happy with the turnout in each of the cities we visited, said Danny Mertens, Business Development Manager Document Printing at Xeikon. It seems that many marketing managers are still grappling with the question of whether to go online or offline. Attendees at the Café all left with a clear answer to this question: they need to do both and implement an innovative, integrated print and digital communication strategy. The Café, proved to be the perfect platform for open sharing of ideas and insight. The mix of a great audience, strong content and being extremely informative seemed to really hit the nail on the head.
The Café kicked off twelve months ago at the company’s headquarters in Lier, Belgium. With a clear focus on retail marketing, the event brought together both printing and communication professionals in a shared learning experience. Academics, together with leading industry players, shared their insights on effective marketing in a multi-channeled world. With today’s technologies opening a diverse array of communication channels, understanding exactly what is available – and how it can be implemented – is key to any effective marketing campaign. Audiences in each country really appreciated the opportunity to better understand the importance and value of a cross-media approach in an integrated campaign. They also learned how the speed, quality and personalisation of digital printing plays a key role in achieving customised personal interaction with targeted customers.
While there were many highlights at the Café, three stood out for attendees. The first is to customize your store by presenting a product range based on what customers are specifically looking for. Gino Van Ossel, Professor of Vlerick Management, cited Amazon and Apple’s iTunes as good examples. The second is to reward the behaviour you want by offering tailor-made promotions, rewarding people for coming into your store and measuring actual conversion. Torbjörn Norberg’s case study on the Mina Varor loyalty strategy at ICA, Sweden’s leading food retailer, showed how this is being put into practice today. It also reaffirmed that the printing industry’s future lies in generating higher returns by using and optimising customer intelligence. The third key point is to unleash the potential held in your customer data. The more relevant your products are to a customer, the higher the probability of them visiting your shop.
Listening to the panel discussion, the audience learned that data is the key to making products relevant, said Mertens. When you combine high-quality digital printing and high-quality database mining you can achieve a customised, personal interaction with target customers. Print proves to be the most powerful medium when it comes to creating privacy time with the consumer. They also discovered that customer data can tell you what products customers are buying from the competition, added Mertens. By creating coupons based on the next best product, you can change buying behaviour by offering promotions.
After leaving Belgium, the Café went to Modena, Italy. Entitled Beyond Loyalty – discovering the true value of loyalty cards, the Italian event included a number of prominent speakers including Giancarlo Panini, the President of Coptip, a leading printer in the Italian retail market and Luca Zanderigghi, Professor of Business Economics, University of Milan.
The Café’s next port of call was digi:media 2011, which took place at the Messe Düsseldorf from 7 to 9 April 2011. As part of the Café, Xeikon, together with its new strategic partner, PrintSoft, demonstrated a complete life-cycle workflow around a private banking application. Visitors had the opportunity to see how companies can create, print and send high-quality personalised financial reports in an automated process.
In May this year, the Café came to Europe’s largest city, Istanbul, Turkey. The audience, which comprised over 80 marketing and printing professional from across the Balkan states, was treated to a wealth of insight from a wide cross-section of the industry. The line-up of speakers came from companies prominent in the supply of communication and document services in the region including Alpa Bank, Provus, Papadopoulos and UMUR – as well as Parajet from Sweden.
After its stop in the Balkans, the Café returned to Belgium in June for an event focused on marketing for financial institutions. Bruno Fabre, the author of Bankroots 2020, addressed the challenges of the banking environment when dealing with the Facebook generation and the future competition. He strongly believed that the only way to survive as a financial organisation is to know and cherish your customer – and that it’s okay to get emotional in doing so.
The Xeikon Café will continue its European tour in the coming months taking in cities both in France and Bulgaria. For more information, please visit www.xeikoncafe.com.