MarTech Interview with Francis McMahon, EVP, Canon Solutions America

Francis McMahon, EVP, Canon Solutions America shares a few thoughts on what it takes to build differentiated buying experiences in today’s online marketplace:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Francis. First off, we’d love to hear – what have been your biggest and most impactful marketing and business learnings through the years…

Thanks for taking the time to chat! I think we can all agree that the past few years have brought massive change to almost every industry and the B2B marketing space is no different. Yet such disruption has also brought rapid transformation, along with an important key insight: connecting to our customers and partners, as people matter more than ever. We must ensure we are meeting their evolving needs and understanding where we can add value to their everyday lives.

We’ve always known that our customers, and prospective customers, are our most important asset. As an engaged organization today, we work to make sure that our customers see us as their partner in enabling page growth for their business, offering solutions and tech that make sense for their bottom lines and help future-proof their operations. Headed into 2022, we’re continuing to roll out new strategies and encourage best practices to drive a “customer in” approach and help maximize the revenue and profit growth for all who we work with.

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In various marketing capacities over the years, how have you used MarTech strategies to drive optimum results; a few processes and best practices to share?

There was a time not too long ago when marketers were told that digital channels were the only way to reach their target customers. However, we’ve seen an increased desire from our customers of all ages to use a mix of print and digital channels in their daily routines to gather news, inform purchasing decisions, and communicate with others – among other activities.

Taking a modern omnichannel approach can help open new possibilities in which print outputs can be used to drive to digital channels and vice versa. One example of print and digital working together, which has been effective in driving more results, is interactive print communications that use augmented reality and personalized URLs to direct people to digital information or content. Another is trigger-based printing, a marketing tactic that involves automatically printing and sending targeted direct mail to people when certain actions are triggered online. For instance, if a shopper adds something to their cart but exits without checking out, a company could follow up with a personalized, direct mail coupon to be used to complete the purchase. It’s a powerful convergence of traditional print and modern digital marketing tactics that can drive sales and leans into consumer-centricity.

What are some of the most common B2B marketing strategies that have often found their way into your process plans over the years?

Through the years, we have always ensured we’re working to create a personal touch with our customers and grabbing their attention through different marketing strategies. Luckily, new technology within digital presses has made personalization easy, even for high-volume jobs, which helps connect better to individual needs.

For example, one of the simpler ways we accomplish this is working to customize content and support strategies based on the recipient, their industry and where they are in the sales process. The most advanced variable techniques are all about meeting the customer or prospect exactly where they are in their buying journey and speaking to their unique concerns. For marketing materials like direct mail, this technique can help capture attention and be used to personalize messages in creative ways – for instance, by matching images or text to images of a customer’s past purchases or current product interest.

How can marketers today drive better and more unique customer experiences in a crowded digital marketplace? What can marketers do better to differentiate their buying experience?

Now more than ever we must radically rethink the way we do business and connect with our customers, especially in a crowded digital marketplace. We must continue to ask ourselves who we are, why we do what we do, and what that means to the people we serve. Significantly, people want to work for companies that stand for something. They want to live, work, and purchase, based on their values.  Similarly, companies want to partner with other like-minded companies.

To help differentiate customers’ buying experience now and into the future, we should look to showcase how our values resonate with their own changing beliefs. This often starts with getting more attuned to our own company culture, which can work as a competitive advantage to help break through and deliver a unique experience.

A few predictions you’d like to talk about for the future of B2B marketing and B2B MarTech?

Looking ahead, we’re going to see more personalization tactics roll out in B2B marketing to better resonate with customers. This could mean more integration and personalization of things like direct mail through digital information capture.

Additionally, through the pandemic, we’ve seen the evolution and rise of digital QR codes in marketing. And we should expect to continue to see growth and innovation in the industry. In fact, CustomerThink even estimated that by 2022, approximately 5.2 billion discount codes will be generated using QR code technology.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital marketing tips and best practices before we wrap up?

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitization of customer interactions by several years – and in turn, it’s forced us to evolve our processes and re-evaluate how we are leveraging the right tech to resonate and improve our connections with customers and partners. Often, the key to success is a combination of technology and interpersonal skills that facilitates a positive customer service experience. This combination of seamless tech with the soft skills and expertise of the team has been well-received time and time again, helping to reduce administrative time and increase customer satisfaction.

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Canon Solutions America

Canon Solutions America is a Canon U.S.A. Company providing integrated systems technology that comprise one of the strongest solutions portfolios in the document management industry.

Francis McMahon is responsible for driving growth and profitability for the Production Print Solutions division of Canon Solutions America, including marketing, sales, operations, service, finance and professional services.

Before assuming responsibility for the entire Production Print Solutions division, Mr. McMahon led the overall marketing and sales operations strategy for that division. A seasoned executive, Mr. McMahon leverages more than 20 years of experience in the printing industry in the areas of strategy, product marketing, business development, sales training and development, lead generation, marketing communications and press and analyst relations. His in-depth experience in the printing industry provides the insight and expertise required to develop strategic tools, programs and solutions that help Canon Solutions America customers prosper and grow in an increasingly competitive business environment.

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