Like many long-time offset print providers, Albuquerque, NM-based LithExcel Communication Services has fought print commoditization by creating greater value for customers through digital printing and related services.
The firm was among the region’s first adopters of variable data printing (VDP) in the late 1990s, and of digital color presses in the early 2000s. Today, full-color VDP shows signs of becoming a commodity, challenging LithExcel once again. Now the firm finds opportunities by continually developing fresh and effective direct and one-to-one marketing programs that help customers attract sales leads and sell more products and services.
LithExcel continues to sharpen its focus on developing innovative marketing services. Sales staff were trained and hired, new value pricing policies were established, and webinars and seminars on marketing and business topics are held regularly to educate and build consultative relationships with customers. Operationally, workflow automation and lean manufacturing boost efficiency, and new skills were developed in Web development and one-to-one marketing using XMPie PersonalEffect Platinum with uStore.
“The beauty of XMPie is that you can produce all types of personalized media from one set of rules and assets, whether it's messages on social networks, QR codes, PURLs, websites, email, SMS text messages, individualized PDF on-demand, or batch production of digital print,” says Waleed Ashoo, president and CEO, LithExcel. “And you can combine tracking and analytics for multiple media to do wonderful presentations to customers, showing where the return is coming from and how.”
“XMPie has been instrumental in helping me grow my business and, in fact, changed my business,” he continues.
LithExcel’s growth today comes from teaching clients how to keep their customer dialogues open through consulting, strategic planning, and executing, Ashoo said. For example, the company has run multi-media student recruitment campaigns on behalf of Westminster College, Fulton, MO, for three years, boosting campus visits by 380 percent, and increasing retention from 56 percent to 92 percent. That’s important, Ashoo says, because support from corporations wanting to educate future employees depends upon high graduation rates.
Programs like Westminster’s have helped LithExcel maintain its record of growing revenue and digital print volume every year over the last two decades, except when the recession hit in 2008. And Ashoo credits innovative marketing services with enabling the company to survive the recession and return to profitability in FY2009.
Digital printing now accounts for half of LithExcel’s print volume and nearly all of the firm’s profit. “Because of XMPie, I’m able to keep five digital presses running,” Ashoo says. Digital printing volume is expected to reach 70 percent of overall volume in two years from just three percent in 2002, and 20 percent in 2005—about a year after deploying XMPie software. That bodes well for LithExcel’s future growth and profitability.