I recall having sat through several presentations in the space of several weeks; all talking about the print industry and how both personalisation and cross-media were important. However within each presentation the presenter had also gone on to say that Twitter was also important; but only as a communication channel.

To a room full of commercial printers, market and service providers I could see them struggling to understand just how Twitter was important to them in delivering better communication services for their customers. I have to say, I was struggling as well. However I had a rare ‘moment’ in which I could see a way of using both technologies together to achieve an effective goal.

Twitter as we all know and love is great for micro-blogging and real-time social communication. Twitter exists for people/companies to act as content providers and for others to decide if they want to listen to them. They do this by ‘following’ those accounts that they have an interest in. Cross-media campaigns on the other hand exist to allow marketers to develop a conversation with a customer about a service, product, event or process. However in traditional campaigns marketers are normally forced to select customers that they would like to target the campaign at. Sometimes at random and sometimes selectively.

So, what if Twitter could be used to drive ‘interested’ people into a cross-media campaign about a product, service, event or process that they are actually interested about?

To test this principle we used the UK event, MediaPro Expo 09 as the topic of a campaign.

The process goes something like this:

  • Twitter.com user openly decides to follow @xmpiemediapro09 as the account set up to promote XMPie’s activities at the show
  • A bespoke application written using XMPie’s APIs then recognises that a new account is ‘interested’ and enters their Twitter details into a database
  • The application then sends a direct message (DM) back to the original user containing their personalised website or Response URL (RURL)
  • Once the user has received their RURL – they can directly access their personalised site, which already contains personalised information (taken from their Twitter account)
  • We then ask the user to simply ‘authorise’ themselves. By authenticating through Twitter they are effectively allowing us access to their profile information
  • If the user accepts we then ‘tweet’ back out on the user’s account to all their followers – indicating what the user has just done
  • The user is taken back to their personalised website, where we ask them to update their details and allow them to produce and download a fully personalised ‘all-access’ badge to the show at MediaPro 09
  • The badge is personalised in various ways – including the use of their Twitter profile image, their updated details, their unique barcode, and even a personalised QR Code to take them back to their personalised site

All through the process XMPie is tracking (through the use of XMPie Marketing Console) who is accessing their personalised websites and what actions they are taking.

I have to take my hat off to Tim Perrett for the implementation of this campaign using XMPie’s APIs and open source platforms – as well as the folks at MediaPro for their help in getting this going.

The beautiful thing to this campaign is that it starts with no user data – their are no recipients in the database. Every single person that comes into the campaign has chosen to do so on their own initiative. Primarily because they have seen someone they are following on Twitter (and thus interested in) already go through the process.

Whether you call this conversation marketing, social media marketing or simply cross-media marketing – the opportunities are immense. This is going beyond what others may refer to as Cross Media. This is an example of an integrated cross-media campaign that is being driven by social media. This is a campaign that uses social media as a real customer acquisition platform. This campaign does not need to ask who the customer is. This campaign automatically knows who the customer is. That is the power of twitter and what happens when social media meets cross-media.

For more information and to experience the campaign – head over to http://mediapro09.xmpie.com

[message type=”info”]Full disclosure: At the time of writing this article the author was employed by XMPie, a Xerox Company. [/message]