Crossing into cross-media: PacPrint interview with Kerim El Gabaili

What will you be discussing at your seminar?

Three things: what is multichannel marketing; what we did to transition into multichannel marketing and where it will take us.

Why should visitors attend? 

They can learn from our lessons and seek similar opportunities with their clients. The hardest part of getting into multichannel marketing is starting the process. If I look back at the most important thing I learned for us to become a multichannel service provider, it was that the change had to start with me. I joined ADMA. I did courses. I went to conferences. I had to change first then my business followed. Going out and buying the software is the easy part.

What is the role of print and other channels within multichannel campaigns?

Print is very important as it adds credibility and we also use digital and telemarketing.

Multichannel marketing is great because people get to cross sell to their existing client base, but the magic is in the strategy. We take people from a piece of direct mail to a personalised landing page to telemarketing and from there to actually booking an appointment. 

What types of printers best suit a move to become a multichannel provider?

Those that have direct relationships with their clients. They need a bit of energy. Everyone and anyone should be able to do move into multichannel marketing but it requires investment and energy because it is a major transition. I get infuriated when I hear people say it is easy. I was at a conference when someone got up and said, ‘In 24 hours you can have a multichannel campaign set up’. 

What a crock. It took me years to understand the technology and to understand some strategic applications of the technology. Then it took us time to sell that capability and have that conversation with our clients. 

We had to run campaigns for free to build case studies. When they say you can have campaign up in 24 hours, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The easiest part is to buy the software.

Should printers try to go it alone or partner? 

We went in alone. I recommend they go it alone. My theory is you don’t work through resellers. You don’t work though ad agencies. You don’t work through brokers. As soon as you bring in someone else to be the strategic thinker, he will own that relationship. You will be the poor cousin. You are better off getting a few black eyes but eventually winning the fight: you will learn from your mistakes. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced?

The most challenging part was telling marketers to suck eggs. The last person they wanted to come and tell them there is a better way to do their communications strategy was a printer. At first, we couldn’t get anyone to buy into the strategy. I ended up approaching a neighbour of mine, who made fancy door handles and had clients in the US. We ran a campaign into LA aimed at interior designers and architects. The aim was to segment the architects and designers – furniture designers, interiors designers etc. 

I charged my neighbour $4,000 and got a partner of mine in San Francisco to do the printing. This campaign ended up winning a PODI award – that was our first multichannel marketing campaign. 

[Related: More PacPrint news]

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