Don’t settle for just connecting – Automate

Today’s marketing and creative staffs are overloaded with requests, ideas, requirements, and toolsets. The resulting backlog is frustrating for the marketing department as well as the rest of the organization. Marketing drives to be effectively responsive and can, in most cases, only dream of being proactive.

I have talked to no fewer than 4 companies in the last 3 weeks that all spend over 12 months creating a single publication.  Three of these were vital product catalogs and the other was a product guide that currently is 18 months out of date and the production time is over 18 months.  I wish I could say that this was an anomaly.  We hear the frustration from all sides.

Highly skilled marketers and creatives have been turned into copy and paste editors. Other organizations spend thousands  or even hundreds of thousands of dollars outsourcing this kind of content entry and layout to agencies and third parties. What is even worse is that by the time these expensive publications reach the market they are often out of date and woefully out of sync with their digital counterparts. From a customer experience standpoint I may have to surf through a 500 page catalog for the 20 pages that I may be interested in. A company’s customer base may speak three languages but their publications only reflect one. The processes that drive these product marketing materials haven’t changed in over a decade. There is a better way.

For the past several years, Digital Asset Management, Content Management, and Product Information Systems have featured plug-ins to Adobe® InDesign® so that in many cases a user can do a basic pull of an image or text into a creative document. While a slight improvement over copy and paste this still doesn’t improve the time to market for the publications.  Also in many instances the data needed comes from multiple sources. What has been lacking from the modern marketing department is the ability to bring the same level of automation to the publishing space as has been available for several years in the pure digital space. Imagine the productivity gains that could be had by automating the product selection and layout of hundreds of pages of a publication. Variations of any types can be instantly created. The same publication can be generated in multiple languages without reinventing the wheel or creating another publication. Based on CRM or other segmentation data multiple, personalized variants of a catalog could be created simultaneously.

“Instead of one catalog, an organization may find they are able to do one every month.”

Datasheets can be created or updated without human intervention.  With the click of one button an entire catalog can be updated with the latest product or pricing data from the source system.  Users of tools like the priint:suite have recognized up to 80% efficiency gains!  This frees marketers to actually do marketing.  It allows marketing to use priint to be extremely responsive to business and to be integrated into true omnichannel.  Instead of one catalog every 18 months, an organization may find they are able to do one every month.  Far from the soft ROI of many software projects this level of automation brings tangible and quantifiable ROI not just of publishing tools but often from the content system.  Bringing this level of layout and creative automation is a real potential gamechanger for the organization looking to execute on a true omnichannel strategy.