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Andrew Young

Xplor Is Back In-Person This September

Looking forward to the return of an important customer communications event

May 4, 2022 12:22:28 PM



Last week, I received an email notification indicating that Xplor22 “The Customer Communications Event” would be held this September near Tampa, Florida. It is an event that has been struggling for industry attention for a while, so to see that it’s back post-COVID is a positive sign for the customer communications industry.


Founded in the late 70s, Xplor has a long and storied history. Originally a spin-off from Xerox users’ group, Xplor is a non-profit association in the digital document and customer communications industry providing education, information, and networking opportunities.


If you have been familiar with Xplor in the past, you may remember it as a massive event. At one time, Xplor owned the transactional customer communications industry. I remember attending my first Xplor in Minneapolis when I was working with Adobe. Then there was the one in South Beach over Halloween. Who could forget that one!


Sometime after my last big Xplor in the early 2000s, I took a break from the industry. When I came back a decade later, I found Xplor had become a very different event. A shadow of its former self, Xplor was struggling to find footing in a mature industry and attract attendees.


The lack of attention from attendees makes it difficult to attract vendors and sponsors upon which events like Xplor depend. Perhaps it is the manufacture events like Ricoh’s Interact or Canon’s ThINK that have played a part, but I believe it’s also a transition from document-centric customer communications (CCM) to the strategic and often overused term customer experience (CXM) that has taken its toll.


I hope to see Xplor22 recapture its place in the industry and address the tactical and operational issues of delivering high-volume, high-integrity document output as a component of broader CXM strategy. There is a need to have important conversations about how things like supply chain concerns, staffing, and the regulatory environment are impacting communications output. For businesses, there are critical choices to be made in technology and partnering with a communications service provider to achieve their goals.


Like its namesake, Xplor is no longer the dominant event in the communications industry, but it has its place. Every year, I cross my fingers hoping that organizers will find the magic mix of attendees and sponsors to give the event focus and energy. I am looking forward to attending Xplor22 and discussing key findings and perspective from Keypoint Intelligence’s Customer Communications research.


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