The Insider’s Guide To New Marketing Production Efficiencies
Published On: April 25th, 2023|By Comosoft|4.7 min read|
Retail marketing has never been as complex to manage as it is now. Creative services and production managers must cope with the daily demands of promotional campaigns covering multiple locations on various print and digital channels. All this leaves little time to innovate and swiftly respond to emergencies and ad hoc requests.
For example, large national retailers with multiple regional locations often see widely different demands for products based on differences in climate, culture, and demographics. Promoting and supplying these products on a regional or local level is complex, with marketing departments often playing catch-up to create timely, locally-focused promotions. Then there are the inevitable, last-minute changes in inventory, custom pricing, and special promotions that localized operations require to remain competitive. With so much else to do to keep national campaigns going, design and production departments need more capacity. Additional capacity is often provided in the form of external agencies. An important factor for successful collaboration between internal and external teams is a common platform that automates crucial workflows.
The Secret Is In the Data
All modern business is dependent on mastery of vast data sets. Every conceivable facet of retail operations generates (and is governed by) information that must be well-managed and understood by those who make meaningful decisions. Even before the emergence of AI and predictive analytics, complex retail operations could only thrive if they understood and leveraged the value of their data. The problem is that business data’s sheer volume and complexity have exploded. Thanks to networking and cloud computing advances, even its “velocity” or ease of access has skyrocketed. But without the right tools, simply having all that data does not automatically give marketing departments the ability to cope with multichannel demands and deal with pain points, time constraints, and last-minute requests.
Thanks to networking and cloud computing advances, even its “velocity” or ease of access has skyrocketed.
So, creative and marketing managers must ask themselves some hard questions to discover that inside track for gaining production efficiency.
Is all product data consistent, up-to-date, and centrally located?
To create a meaningful retail campaign, marketing managers must know every detail about the product(s) they wish to sell, starting with known demand, margin, and availability in each region. Then, they must add each product’s descriptors (sizes, colors, etc.) and the latest versions of its images, brand elements, and descriptions to that data. With the rise of e-commerce and social media, the product’s digital assets will likely include customer ratings, reviews, and videos. That’s a lot of data to manage.
Planning a campaign should be routine if the data is centrally located, consistent, and connected in meaningful ways. But standalone PIM, DAM, and design systems are often not integrated with the initial planning process. Fortunately, Comosoft’s LAGO system offers a solution: a whiteboarding module that lets marketing and product managers map out the initial plan—drawing directly from various data sources—and initiate the design process via InDesign templates that can be easily customized and versioned.
Once the plan is initiated, production designers using LAGO’s InDesign plugin have easy, bi-directional access to all the PIM and DAM data for each product. If an image or description is modified or updated in the original database, it is automatically updated in the layout. If regional or demographic versions are called for, they can be created manually on demand or generated automatically, driven by data differences from existing versions, such as pricing or SKU selection. Even these separate versions are connected to the relevant product data—right up to the moment the printed or online channel piece is generated.
LAGO Case Study
Learn how Lowe’s automated their retail circular ad production for in-store and digital marketing agility
Review and Approve
With so much going on with each campaign and every version, the proofing and approval process must be rapid and efficient. Therefore, LAGO also provides the means for rapid soft proofing, notification and review by qualified managers, and clear, trackable instructions to deal with last-minute corrections. As with the design process, review and approval lines of communication can include in-house and outside agency members, using a secure and robust connection.
Once the final designs are approved, the campaign data are transmitted immediately to remote printing facilities (for catalogs, flyers, and other collateral) and to the retailer’s media operations and partners (for digital publishing on websites, mobile apps, programmatic ad tech systems, and e-commerce sites). Because all of the product data is consistent across every channel, the resulting sales data can be fed back to LAGO, informing marketing and advertising managers of the relative success of their campaigns – helping them improve their efforts.
Marketing production does not have to be a siloed, overly labor-intensive process, even when multiple versions and channels are required.
Command and Control
The marketing insider’s best way to compete in an ever-expanding sea of data is to have complete control of that data from beginning to end. Integrated, cloud-based systems like Comosoft LAGO serve that need in two ways. First, they automate the handling of data and complex but routine tasks. This automation frees the entire team to respond to the inevitable, last-minute demands and unforeseen emergencies.
Marketing production does not have to be a siloed, overly labor-intensive process, even when multiple versions and channels are required. By asking (and answering) the hard questions about the company’s data resources, creative services, and marketing production managers can put their company on course to greater agility and competitive advantage.