5 Signs Your Marketing Department Needs Production Automation
A small business can usually get by with a simple database or two. For example, tracking the details of a hundred or even a few thousand individual products is possible with a basic Product Information System or PIM system. Similarly, the images and descriptions of a small number of products can usually be sorted and stored in a straightforward Digital Asset Management or DAM system.
But not all companies are small—or want to stay that way. If your company’s products number in the hundreds of thousands (or more), then your marketing department will be quickly overwhelmed – especially when each product is promoted across print and digital channels.
Also, consider this. If your company sells multiple items, then product information like images, descriptions, prices, and other vital data comes from different sources! Untangling and connecting all that moving data in a way that makes it practical for a marketing team’s use requires a robust automation approach. Without it, marketing will remain slow, unresponsive, and ultimately ineffective in a crowded, multichannel world.
Diagnosing the Problem
Here are five indicators that your marketing department needs to consider automating its data and production infrastructure. Remember that production automation is not a threat to marketing professionals’ jobs. On the contrary, if done right, it frees creative marketing professionals to do their jobs well!
- Your multichannel workflow is mostly manual
Today, customers have access to scores of different media channels, each requiring its own set of rules for data input, layout design, editing, and distribution. If your production designers must start from scratch for any print or digital output, then you’ve already lost the race. Only a truly integrated, templated workflow – repurposing each design and data decision to serve multiple outputs – can keep your marketing department in the game.
- Your legacy data systems do not communicate with each other well – or at all
Many PIM and DAM systems are holdovers from a company’s IT past or acquired in corporate mergers. Older systems typically do not share data well or in the same way with modern technology. Without efficient data transfer, compelling product offers cannot be delivered accurately without the risk of costly manual workarounds. Given today’s pace of business, having non-integrated data sources is just not acceptable.
- Your “siloed” systems have outdated or conflicting information for the same product in a campaign
People make mistakes. So do legacy PIM, DAM, and other systems containing data entered by those same people. Standalone databases are especially prone to this. When a PIM data field is outdated, or when a DAM identifies the wrong version of a product image, then a print catalog or mobile app campaign can grind to a halt, requiring many hours of manual searching to fix. Marketing campaigns will suffer without well-planned production automation (and databases that communicate with each other).
- Your review and approval cycles are burdened with manual steps and bottlenecks
For every marketing campaign – from print to digital – someone must be there to proofread and correct costly mistakes. Sometimes, there is more than one decision-maker to review and approve a complex marketing piece. In today’s fast-paced, multichannel world, a cumbersome, manual review process can derail your campaign’s timing goals – and your budget.
- You cannot easily create personalized or region-specific versions of your marketing campaigns
If you have more than one store, then you have more than one set of marketing priorities. The larger your operation, the more complex are your marketing goals. A one-size-fits-all campaign no longer works. If you cannot easily create region- or store-specific versions of your promotional pieces, then you cannot succeed in today’s fast-moving consumer market. Your customers expect region-appropriate, even personalized information – IF you can deliver.
Prescribing the Solution
Fortunately, there is a solution to all five problems, and more, as retail marketers around the world are discovering. For example, Europe’s leading packaging, warehouse, and office supplies supplier has twenty-nine offices in sixteen different countries. With over 200,000 different products and billions of euros in revenue at stake, the company could not afford a manual workflow for its multichannel marketing campaigns. Instead, its PIM, DAM, and other data sources had to be connected, accurate, and agile—as did its planning, production, and collaborative approval workflows. Above all, each piece had to be quickly and automatically versioned to accommodate the vastly different conditions for each country.
Their answer was Comosoft LAGO, a fully integrated production automation platform for creating complex, data-driven, and omnichannel marketing. Once data was integrated and Comosoft added representatives from all sixteen countries into the LAGO web environment, the company could use the system to produce its print and digital catalog—at tremendous savings in time and cost.
The creative marketing director of any company has far too many things on their plate to stop and think about automation, integrated databases, versioning, or production workflows. And yet, their success depends on those very things. Without systems that communicate automatically and resolve the production bottlenecks, they cannot focus on their primary job, to control the creative design process and reach customers with compelling, customized campaigns.
Comosoft LAGO is many things. It’s more than a PIM, a DAM, a planning tool, a production automation system, and a versioning powerhouse. It is all of those things and more—combined to help creative marketing teams thrive in a relentless, multichannel world.