“People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”.
Sales and marketing people will have heard that quote before. It’s what the late Theodore Levitt used to say to his students at Harvard Business School in the ‘60s. Back then, he also wrote a hugely influential article, Marketing Myopia, in which he asked the question, “What business are you really in?”.
The recent release of XMPie’s much anticipated Campaigns-on-Demand feature reminded me of Theodore Levitt’s question.
(If you haven’t seen what this ground-breaking XMPie technology does, then check out Greg Cholmondeley’s excellent PODi product briefing).
Campaigns-on-Demand certainly isn’t just a hole, or even a drill to make one with – it’s more like an entire DIY bookshelf-design-and build-system. Almost your own all-purpose handy house robot!
Are you selling drills? Or holes?
Think of it this way: Once upon a time, printers used to just sell the ‘hole’ – the specific business card or flyer with the static name or message on it. (Nothing wrong with that!). Then XMPie, and other web-to-print software vendors, enabled printers to sell the ‘drill’. Customers could add any name to the online business card template or put any message on the flyer dynamically. Just like using a drill – make as many different holes as you want, wherever and whenever you want them.
But Campaigns-on-Demand goes a big step further. It enables a customer to select an online template for a whole multi-touch, multi-channel marketing campaign and then create, customise, launch and manage their own bespoke version based on the original template.
It’s like those DIY or furniture stores that offer an online design-your-own-kitchen tool. But with a crucial difference – when you press the submit button, the kitchen will actually go ahead and build itself!
What is a ‘Campaigns on Demand’ business?
I think the technology is truly exciting and very powerful, but it also begs the Theodore Levitt question: if you were to offer marketing campaigns as a service, online and on-demand, then what business would you be in? What would the clients need to be like? Who would their customers be? Why would anybody want off-the-shelf, complex marketing campaigns which they still have to customise themselves? Isn’t this what agencies do for you? Even experienced marketing professionals might hesitate to use such a DIY service in case they screwed up!
I’m not sure if the business template for such a service exists – yet. But there wasn’t one twenty years ago either, when a few adventurous (or crazy) printers started doing a completely new thing – that we all now call ‘web-to-print’. And which most customers for print now totally expect!
Some future iteration of XMPie’s Campaigns-on-Demand technology will likely be driven by Artificial Intelligence. By then it will be the mainstream, and the successful early adopters will be in a whole new business. One that today we can barely imagine – although it will probably still involve print somewhere in the mix.
Find out more from XMPie about Campaigns-on-Demand.