After the Over the Skype conversation with XMPie Founder Jacob Aizikowitz it was interesting to gain insight to the real meaning of omnichannel related to a print innovation and marketing services business. So a number one candidate for a follow-up conversation is Jeroen van Druenen in Amsterdam, NL. Beside his job as CEO of Jubels — claim: smart printing. smart solutions. — Jeroen is as well member of the global Xerox Premier Partner network and President of the XMPie Unsers Group.
Andreas Weber, CEO INKISH D-A-CH, raised some important questions because omnichannel is not a natural part of the DNA of printing companies. Jeroen shared some fantastic insights which are relevant to all of us in the D-A-CH region as well as in the rest of the world.
Nach dem Over the Skype-Gespräch mit XMPie-Gründer Jacob Aizikowitz war es interessant, einen Einblick in die wahre Bedeutung von Omnichannel im Zusammenhang mit dem Geschäft mit Druckinnovationen und Marketingdienstleistungen zu erhalten. Ein Nummer-eins-Kandidat für das Folgegespräch ist Jeroen van Druenen aus Amsterdam, NL. Neben seiner Tätigkeit als CEO von Jubels — Motto: Smart Printing. Intelligente Lösungen. — Jeroen ist außerdem Mitglied des globalen Xerox Premier Partner-Netzwerks und Präsident der XMPie Unsers Group.
Andreas Weber, CEO von INKISH D-A-CH, stellte einige wichtige Fragen, da Omnichannel kein natürlicher Bestandteil der DNA von Druckunternehmen ist. Jeroen teilte einige fantastische Erkenntnisse, die für uns alle in der D-A-CH-Region sowie im Rest der Welt relevant sind.
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeroenvandruenen/
Good morning dear friends of INKISH. I am here with Jeroen van Drunen from Amsterdam. So it’s an international conversation and we switch to English. Is that OK for you, Jeroen?
Yes, of course Herr Weber. Let us do it in English.
OK, so how are you? How is the world in Amsterdam right now?
Well, the weather itself is very fine, thank you. But that’s not what you wanted to ask me. I think economically spoken, Covid spoken. We’re on the way down again to not normal, of course. But all the victims…the rate this is getting a little bit lower in the last few days. So that’s good. And we’re still in a semi lockdown. We’re still working. I can’t take a printing press on my shoulder home to work at home. So that’s a little bit difficult for a printer.
But on the other hand, it’s quite OK. We have some customers and mainly in the event business, which is very slow to zero. And that’s a shame. But it is what it is. We’ve got some other customers who are keeping us very, very busy at the moment.
So economically, it’s OK. No problem.
That’s good to hear. And the topic we want to discuss in this ‘Over the Skype’ conversation is related to print for sure.
But I think the focus should be on this new form of print. Print as a part of innovative market scenarios. And we call it omnichannel. And I had that beautiful conversation with Jacob Aizikowitz, the founder of XMPie last week. And now with you, I think we can learn more about how is omnichannel working in practice? And how did you get in touch with omnichannel? I think it’s a long time ago, right?
Yes, correct. Maybe you remember I’m also a part of the Xerox Premiere Partner community. And in those days, I guess it was 2005 or 2006, so 15 years ago. I became aware of XMPie. And the sales rep of XMPie, he chased me for more than a year and it was really chasing. I need your signature to sign off. And in those days, multichannel, omnichannel or whatever you call it, was not really big.
And it’s still hard to sell. That’s something which is correct at this moment, but…
We learned it the hard way. And from the perspective of being a printer to get this message to your customers. Like being a printer is very hard. So 15 years ago, we started using XMPie as a tool to broaden our horizon and to – well, maybe I can put it in a different way – I was at a certain moment. I think it was in 2008 or 2009. Jacob and I, he was here in Amsterdam visiting me and we were in a car to a restaurant or something. And he said to me: What did XMPie bring you? And I said: Well, you made us shift our minds. Being just and and it’s not what I mean – being a stupid printer. But being a printer is not enough these days. So you need to do more. You need to do more to be successful. And that’s what XMPie brought us. They make us change our minds in the way we do our business these days. And that’s really the key effort of XMPie.
But I think that’s not typical. Because omnichannel is not a natural part of print shop owners or print shop entrepreneurs. It’s not part of their DNA, right?
And if I can add this. And at that time, you were already in touch… You had deep inside with digital printing. That could be an advantage.
Correct. In 1992 – 1993, we were one of the first users of PrintShop Mail. So we were used to use personalized data in printed media.
That early? That was very early.
I think we were customer number seven.
Oh, my God.
…he always mentioned those. So that’s good. But anyway…
We go a long way in personalized print and making it more relevant to our customers. For our customers. Or to the responder who gets this direct mail. So in this way, it was easier for us to do it in an omnichannel way. Using PURLs or using RURLs or whatever you call them. That made it more easy. But on the other hand, we were still printers. And with that, you need to change the way you do your business because you can’t be just the provider of some printing work. You need to be able to act on a higher level, on a level which is higher in the column. So you need to be more like an architect advising your customers how to use print, how to use printers as a key enabler for their own internal behaviors. And that’s what we’re trying to do right now.
And you mentioned direct marketing. But I think omnichannel is something like beyond direct marketing. Because it’s not only addressing a person with a personalized message. It’s – you call it the architecture. I think it’s a very interactive scenario. And how could that work? How could you explain that to customers? Because they benefit of that.
Like I said, in the old fashioned way, maybe not only offset, but also digital. But anyway, still using only print. So we had – myself – I had to change as well. I had to see how I could sell the campaign to a customer. And indeed not only using direct mail, but also the rest of the of the channels, which you can use. Like email, like URLs, SMS and et cetera, et cetera. But the campaign itself, the architecture of a campaign that is something which we do right now with a piece of software from XMPie called Circle. Which you can use to do it together with the customer. And to make this personal, because I can use it as a personal. It’s like a sketchbook where you can outline what the next step in a campaign can be for a customer. And together with that customer. And most cases work the best with the end customer. So not an ad agency or whatever in between. Ad agencies is nice for design, et cetera, et cetera. But the campaign itself works the best way if you do it with the end customer.
OK. And maybe you said you had to change your mind. And what about your your employees? Your team? And what kind of skills do you need? To, let’s say, create to decide the campaign and also to do the production work and the sales work as well?
Well, here is the sales. So that was…
I must be honest. That’s still art. How do you call it? That’s still the hard part. And selling a campaign with all this cross-media with omnichannel, multi-channel, whatever. That’s art. And by the way, indeed you need people who work, employees with different skill sets. They need to to understand the printing business, of course. But they also need to understand the web, the web interfaces and all the other things. And by the way, they need to have marketing skills as well. So we try to do that with some new people who we brought into the company and they gave us they gave us a boost in our proposals to customers. [00:10:36]So you don’t need an old fashioned printing… customer CSR…to send to the customer to sell a cross media campaign. [16.3s] That’s not doable.
So then we have, I think, a lot of interesting benefits. Because you can offer something new, something which is more valuable for customers. Which is also able to move print on a new level and then the usage of digital printing on a new level. And also, it was useful to reinvent your own business. Because when I got it right, you are not doing a typical print shop business anymore. Sometimes you mentioned marketing service provider. What is your actual positioning? How would you describe what you do? Because Jubels was founded as an offset printing company decades ago. Right?
We started the business in 1902. We were one of the first printers in the Netherlands. And maybe in Europe using a Xerox equipment in 1977 for photocopying and we had some photocopy shops, etc. We were always on the forefront to do something new. And like I said, we are almost 120 years old and we always try to reinvent ourselves and we want to be valuable for our customers. And I always say to my customers: you need to pay me that much money so I can survive the next five years. And five years is a nice, nice range to look ahead. And that’s for now. And certainly with Covid. That’s also impossible thing to look forward to. But I’m not in the business of selling prints in the cheapest way. We try to sell our services for a good price. That’s important because then we can still be innovative as we are right now. And my customers need to pay me as much so that I can innovate my company. That’s really important. And it’s not about… Well, it’s about software, it’s about people, it’s about printing presses or whatever. And that’s what we’re trying to do right now. And I think we’re doing it in a very good way. We’re still here. If you see the surroundings of Amsterdam. Where 10 years ago there were 50 printers around here in Amsterdam. There’s only two or three left right now. So the landscape itself is changing rapidly. And yes, we’re doing campaigns. Yes, we’re doing lots of web-to-print solutions for our customers. So it’s print-on-demand, just the right quantities. But that’s something you can help the customers with as well. We’re doing right now a very large campaign for a printer vendor. I can’t reveal the name. But it’s going to be a very, very nice campaign. You will read it shortly, I guess. And that’s where the money comes from right now.
So that means at the very beginning, it was like a test and really hardcore to get the job done and also to educate customers. And in the meantime, omnichannel is the business driver. And you are not in that harsh competition that you’re going to be measured by cost cost per page. Right?
Correct. Correct. Print is part of being the omnichannel approach, and then it’s not important that a print costs two or three cents or 20 cents. That’s not important anymore. It’s about what is relevant for the end customer. …for the people who are in this campaign…
So, for example, we did a campaign for a day care center a few years ago. With a small investment of 10.000 – 15.000 Euros. They made more than three 300.000 Euros using printers as the start for an omnichannel campaign. Going with an URL to the website, getting some some details going to the daycare center. We used even ‘Looker’. You know ‘Looker’ for the personalized maps and that kind of things. We used SMS to have an extra trigger to get people to the daycare centers. But at the end, it brought the customer more than 300.000 Euros. So that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get there and also to get profit for our customers.
And then it’s not important if a print costs 10 cents or 1 Euro per page..
Yeah. So it’s generating profit for your customers. And I think the beauty is also using this kind of software architecture like XMPie. That you have a dashboard and you can measure exactly the success of the campaign.
That’s so different from the typical printshop work because the measurement is: Oh, did we hit the quality expectation of our customer to get a good imaging quality? But then up to that point, when they deliver, they don’t know what what will happen. And you know that, right?
Yes. But on the other hand, there are other programs or pieces of software like Hubspot, which you can use for your marketing. But they always seem to forget the importance of print.
What’s the beauty of print? Print is something… I got here some questions which are printed out to put in front of me, but now I’m putting it aside.
But after an hour it is still on my desk. When you send me an email, I’ll put the cross to empty my waste bucket and then it’s gone. So print is, in my opinion, still very, very important to shout out your message. And certainly if it’s personalized, if it’s versionized to the needs of the end customer, to the attendee.
So omnichannel enables print to become more sustainable in that sense? Yes? And more different and so on.
And if you say sustainable. Yes. Because it sent to you and not to everybody. Yeah.
And also print and also that is always important for me. How could print stay part of that digital age communication behavior? You know? Because you said it, we deal with email, with social media and so on. And normally in that world, you don’t have touchpoints to print. But that is not the optimum for a good marketing campaign. Do your customers see that? Or do you have to educate them to learn that?
We do educate them. We try to educate them. Like we do a few times per year, five or six times per year, we do ‘Lunch and Learn Sessions’ about different topics and that can be omnichannel. That can be printing a photobook. Color Management or whatever. We try to gift knowledge, which we have or which we hire. So sometimes we hire a designer. Sometimes we hire a marketing agency or whatever. Just to inform our customers what is possible with not only print but also with other topics. And I think that’s that’s really, really important. And last year, we had a group of students from the Design Academy, from Eindhoven, which is a great school or academy for designers and it is world known.
But anyway, they came here to our shop and they don’t have a clue anymore about printing. Its or what what you just said.
It’s all about social media, it’s about email, it’s about web, etc. And we need to educate those people, those young people again. What the beauty, we call it always the beauty of print, what the beauty of print is. And that’s really one of the things we try to do on our level. Anyway hat’s what we do.
But when I got it right. The way you manufacture print is not dedicated to the typical CMYK process, then that offset business. So when I got it right, you were one of the first running orange on an IGen. And in springtime, you opened up a new hall and you have also a special effect printing machine. Iridesse. Is that in the mindset of your customers that you are so innovative to offer them omnichannel solutions? And on the other hand, if you print – it is so different, it’s premium. Is that a good mix or is that a must-have?.
I think it’s a good mix. Well, if you use print and you’re…well, let’s call it a different way. If you’re a printer and you’re just printing, then it’s that. It’s just this. But if you’re doing more like we are doing marketing services, marketing service provider. Then we can also execute this campaign. And that’s the difference between marketing agencies who are using omnichannel software. But we can also execute on a very smart and efficient way. I think that’s the that’s the difference. Andreas.
Yeah. And how how could we get a better understanding of how those campaigns could happen? Is it in the first step, something like a think tank manner to inspire customers? Or do you have already a certain view what could be the best for the customer? How is that happening?
Well, what’s the best way? And that’s something which we did build over the last 15 years, is to show your successes to customers. So case studies and real life examples to customers. Like we did this for this customer. We did that for their customers. That is important to show customers what you did for other customers. And if they’re in the same column, that would be really a benefit. Hey, your competitor uses us for this and this and this. And he’s successful because his revenue went up let’s say, something like 50 percent or whatever by using our expertize. And then other customers will follow a little bit easier. So it’s learning. Still learning on the job of course. But building this library of use cases is very important.
And another point is customer loyalty, which is today in this back to print age, not that good anymore. Is omnichannel also helping supporting the customer’s loyalty? Or do you have every day a new customer to convince and fulfill?
No. I’m doing for a retailer who’s opening shops in the construction area. We once made one campaign and we reused this campaign more than 100 times. So it’s just different. You can program the campaign once and you can reuse it. We use it for a trade attorney worldwide. Every two weeks, a new campaign starts and it uses print as a start. It combines POD, it combines email, it combines a phone call, etc., you know, in a campaign which we made together. But this lasts for more than three years right now. So every two weeks, this campaign starts all over again. So we once programed it and we’re still reusing it. So customer behavior is – maybe not the right words, but it makes it makes it just easier – because they think and they are of course, they are hooked up with us. So it’s the relation between a customer and us. We’re more like partners in crime. Partners to help them getting more revenue, getting more customers, getting more blah, blah, blah. And we’re doing the jobs and doing the work for them. Yeah, that sounds amazing. Because the best you can get is to be seen as a business partner and not only as a buyer.
The other point is, you mentioned the Xerox Premier Partner Network. These are really leading print innovation drivers around the globe. But you are also president of the XMPie users group. And maybe you can tell us a little bit about that. I joined some of your conferences in the past. So that was really amazing.
Is what you do in Amsterdam is not only a local business, you have also a global perspective all the time. Are you the exception inside those group members? Or could we find many other Jeroens around the globe?
Probably there are other Jeroens on the globe. But not in the way I am. Of course, I am unique.
Therefore, you are the president.
Yes, that is correct.
The king of omnichannel, right?
Yeah, somebody needs to be. So it’s me.
But no. There are certainly more people who are doing the same on a global scale and indeed the network itself, Xerox Premier Partners or being involved in the XMPie user group is important. It broadens my global appearance, of course. And my biggest, my largest and not biggest, largest customers now come from the US. And I’m still this small company with only 30 people in Amsterdam. But my biggest, my largest customers are from the US.
That’s strange. Yeah. But anyway.
Of course, there are more people who are doing the same as I am. I’m only very outgoing. That is not a good word, but you know what I mean. I’m an open book and I’m always telling what what I think needs to be told. So that’s the difference. The network itself helped me a lot gaining this international appearance. And the XMPie user group, although it’s a little bit quiet right now. We will be back in the next few months I guess. We had a large conference just before Covid internationally hit the globe. In the US. And probably we’ll have some new conferences next year. Xerox did a tremendous good job last week with the ‘Xerox Forum’ for Premiere Partners. They do it in a virtual way. I don’t know if you visited some of the speakers. But the way it was done is OK.
But then again, and you know me and we’ve been together to…this summer in Germany.
We are trying to hold people and to use the network and drinking a beer together just to laugh…. That’s something which I really miss right now. So hopefully we will have that back in the near future when there’s a vaccine for Covid. And then some things will be going back to normal. On the other end: what’s normal? Yeah.
So, Jeroen, it was a great conversation. Time is flying. We always have 30 minutes. A 30 minutes talk. I didn’t expect that. But it was so wonderful. And what is most important for me is your last point. That omnichannel is fine. It’s bridging the virtual communication world and the analog print world or something like that. But at least it’s about us as human beings. And that is what I like, especially in dealing with those XMPie users. And when I go back to Orlando three years ago. That was amazing how this group was able to interact and also to have a talk, workshops and brainstormings and exchanging ideas. So omnichannel means for me in that sense, that it’s also to have an open mind and to love open communication. Which is also not typical for the printing industry.
And that’s correct. If you look around. Well, 10 – 20 years ago when digital was not that common, the digital printers were much more open than the traditional offset printers these days. It has changed, of course. But now we’re doing some work together. And that’s really nice. I can do work for my colleague who is in … Or whatever. And we can do it together. And that was something which was not doable with offset printers. So, yes, it’s an open world and we certainly – the XMPie user group – we try to learn from each other. To broaden the community and not only grow another community, but also broadening our market, which is very important.
And it’s still like this. So we need to broaden it, to shout out, that not only print is important. But that omnichannel, the omnichannel approach is important. And that print can be an enabler to start a conversation with the end customer, with the responder. It is very important and that is really what we’re trying to do.
And that’s a good message for all of us, because omnichannel could be used in so many ways to reinvent your own business. To create much more value for customers, to be part of communication campaigns as a partner, not only as a as a supplier of printed sheets. So we should keep in touch. And Jacob’s message was as well. Omnichannel is not mainstream yet, but I think it’s already premium. And that’s a good approach to see it as a premium and not as a niche. And so thank you very much for your time, Jeroen. And yeah, I would be very happy to see you in person. Face to face quite soon.
OK, thank you very much. Looking forward to that.
OK, bye bye. Take care. Stay healthy.
You too. Bye!
Fri September 29th
Mark Subers · PRINTING United Expo 2023
PRINTING United takes place October 18th-20th in Atlanta, Georgi - and of course, INKISH will cover the event - and as usual, in-depth, engaging, and hopefully something you will like. Part of coverage is as often as possible to talk to the people behind the scenes and for PRINTING United Expo, one of the leading forces in Mark Subers. In this session, we talk about whether the Under One Roof approach is still the right approach that visitors can expect, and, of course, we also talk about the industry in general. It was nice catching up with Mark; we hope you enjoy it!