dmexco 2017: digital marketing foundations for the online print industry


The art of marketing print also includes digital marketing. Those online print providers that took a closer look at what was on offer during dmexco 2017 are likely to have found exactly the relevant sources of inspiration!

Digital marketing and print are not mutually exclusive concepts – after all successful online print providers make continuous use of digital marketing channels. That’s why I found it a bit odd that only a small handful of the exhibitors that I spoke to uttered the word “print”. They seemed to make more unwitting use of print for the purposes of communicating with visitors, despite the superiority of business cards, flyers and brochures over the digital contact and information options at the trade fair. It was therefore not difficult to spot that dmexco revolved (almost exclusively) around digital marketing. Yet there were some offerings of interest to the online print community at the trade fair. I have profiled a few of them below.

The trade fair team from parcelLab at dmexco; Source: zipcon consulting

Personalization plays an important role not only in relation to the product per se, but also in terms of all issues related to shipping. parcelLab has been helping eCommerce businesses since 2014 to design profitable aftersales processes by employing personalized shipping notifications. The tool developed by the Munich-based start-up undertakes post-sale communication with the customer by acting as an intermediary between the customer and the logistics service provider. There are 2 options (for large stores) for using  customer- or transaction-relevant data to create personalized shipping messages, either by incorporating  the parcelLab software via API or by means of a simple CSV export. The application can basically be integrated into any store system and in other languages too. Shipping events that can be notified to the customer via the software include goods out from the shipping warehouse, scheduled delivery date and any discrepancies, e.g. delays.

“It can and does make sense to use digital data and marketing channels to market print. Although the relevant methods are available to all, many an online print provider is squandering potential.” – Bernd Zipper

CI-conform design of shipping notifications enables the provider to send his customer additional personalized product recommendations and thus guide them back to the store. parcelLab makes templates available that enables the provider to adapt and amend as required the text and image content for the notifications, which can be sent to the customer via app or SMS as well as by the traditional e-mail method. In terms of pricing this gain in customer satisfaction starts at 0.01 Euros per shipment.

Another interesting exhibitor was Adnymics, also a Munich-based start-up. Like parcelLab it creates additional opportunities for communicating with the customer after or accompanying their actual purchase, although these opportunities are based on printed personalized parcel inserts. I have already reported on how that works in this blog.

SocialHub at dmexco 2017; Source: zipcon consulting

A digital marketing trade fair/expo without social media is not something you can imagine would really happen. In this regard SocialHub in particular caught my attention. It offers solutions for providing services and communicating via social media as well as for end-to-end social media management starting at 599 Euros. The software is structured in an incredibly simple way. There is an Inbox for managing incoming and outbound posts, in which inquiries can be processed with the aid of user histories. User histories provide valuable data to enable appropriate and helpful responses to be given. Furthermore task allocation within social media teams and editorial planning can be undertaken with the aid of a planning tool. What I also like is the monitoring tool that enables so-called social listening to be conducted. For example, keywords can be used to ascertain the needs of potential customers outside of a company’s own contact list and to react to these needs with channel-specific campaigns – a proprietary brand or product can therefore be put in context. If, for example, inquiries for business cards are received, online print providers can come back with the appropriate response… SocialHub is launching a new content planning tool for editorial prepping and community management purposes in the fourth quarter of this year. This tool is designed to facilitate in-team ideas gathering, for example.

Social media communication based on four key elements; Source:

As far as processing vast quantities of customer data for the purposes of enhancing marketing activities is concerned, Tealium was one of the exhibitors at dmexco showcasing an interesting system. Its Universal Data Hub enables data, which is captured from various predefined sources using tags, to be harmonized and harnessed for use in CRM systems, campaigns or personalized customer approaches via e-mail or social media channels, for example. There are preconfigured integration options available for more than 1000 different customer data sources that can be defined in the software, thereby achieving broad coverage of relevant social media channels, (mobile) operating systems, shop systems etc. Overall this system pools (potential) customer touchpoints, allowing follow-up marketing strategies to be actioned in a more targeted and effective way and conversion rates to be increased.

The Universal Data Hub integrates customer data sources and harnesses them for various marketing activities; Source:

My take: Print did not play an important role at dmexco 2017 – but that was foreseeable and not the focus of the trade fair. But that does not mean that potential synergies can’t be derived from combining digital with print or, put another way, utilizing digital marketing to promote print. And this is precisely the area in which some online print providers do not appear to be keeping pace with the times. As I said before, every online print provider is ultimately involved in eCommerce. Even if the end product is an analog one, online print providers are still subject to the same rules of effective digital marketing as other online businesses. The above-profiled exhibitors are demonstrating how it can be done – you “only” need to know how to use the range of communication channels and data available. However I still have a sense of disenchantment – online print has not yet quite caught on in the online print industry and its potential is (still) massively underestimated.

Founder and CEO of zipcon consulting GmbH, one of the leading consulting companies for the print and media industry in Central Europe. The technology and strategy consultant and his team actively support practical implementation in a wide variety of customer projects. His work involves developing visions, concepts and strategies for the players active in the print production process across a wide range of industries. His areas of expertise include online print, mass customization, strategy and technological assessment for print, and the development of new strategies in the print and media environment. Bernd Zipper is the creator and chairman of Initiative Online Print e.V. and, in addition to his consulting activities, is an author, lecturer and sought-after speaker, orator and moderator. His visionary lectures are regarded worldwide as trend-setting management recommendations for the print and media industry. (Profiles also in Xing, LinkedIn).

Leave A Comment