4 Steps to Prepare your Web to Print Project
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), more than 75% of worldwide sales today flow through channels. Indirect or “channel marketing” remains a crucial area of activity for global companies, however they need the right technology to enable partners to efficiently market and sell to their customers. How can Web to Print project and Distributed Marketing Platform help international brands in industries like retail, financial services, healthcare, automotive and manufacturing? And how can you ensure you select the right partner to achieve your goals and set up a successful web to print project?
Large companies that operate in multiple geographic locations have a key challenge in common: they must reach and engage target audiences while at the same time ensuring consistent messaging and brand image across all locations. It is extremely difficult and costly to design and deliver multilingual and multi-country marketing content across various touchpoints without jeopardizing brand consistency. Companies with distributed teams therefore need to have a marketing strategy that connects all stakeholders, such as affiliates, franchisees, retailers, and central marketing. A strategy that effectively combines automation and personalization in order to improve communication, marketing efficiency and ultimately drive sales.
To achieve this, many of these companies look towards Distributed Marketing platform (sometimes called Web To Print or Through-Channel Marketing Automation platforms). These platforms, usually associated with a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution, are designed to support companies with extended business organizations as they allow distributed teams to produce, customize and approve marketing content across all channels and markets using centrally-supplied branded templates.
However, choosing the right distributed marketing platform requires careful consideration of your marketing needs and organization. We’ve therefore created a checklist to help you answer some of the most important questions when preparing your Web to Print (W2P) project. Follow these 4 steps and you will be on your way to successfully finding and implementing your new W2P solution.
1. Define your key goals and objectives
Distributed Marketing platforms offer a variety of benefits. When choosing your future system, it is important to understand what you want to accomplish with it, i.e. your expected return on investment (ROI). This expected ROI can be quantitative, qualitative or both: do you want to save money on external purchases such as design agency fees or production? Do you want to improve the translation process and lower associated costs? Perhaps you want to ensure better respect of the graphic charter, or keep better track of the different stages of document production? The reasons for which you decide to pursue a Web to Print project may be numerous, but it is critical to communicate and prioritize your objectives. This will allow you to get everyone on board and establish the new platform as an enterprise-wide goal before investing in it. It will also ensure you choose a system that has the capabilities best suited to your needs and that will provide you with the desired results, whether that’s significant cost savings, increased operational efficiency, or better brand compliance.
2. Identify your stakeholders
You are most likely evaluating a distributed marketing platform because your organization has a broad set of marketing stakeholders, such as affiliates, franchisees, or channel partners, and needs to keep content consistent and relevant to different target audiences. According to Gartner, “in distributed organizations with multiple marketing stakeholders, marketing leaders must reconcile the need for centralized and decentralized processes.” When choosing your future distributed platform, you must take into account which direct and indirect stakeholders will be involved and need access to the platform. You should ask questions like: Will this platform be deployed internationally? Will it support multiple divisions and business units? How many languages will be required? Choosing a system that addresses and coordinates all key stakeholders at both the corporate and local level – and one that allows them to easily and intuitively access and exchange assets and templates – will be key to help you execute highly localized campaigns while maintaining full control of usage and compliance. Understanding who your stakeholders are and what pain points they have will help ensure that you select the solution that will bridge the gap between corporate and regional marketing needs whatever the size or complexity of your business organization.
3. Analyze your current processes
Once you’ve defined your key goals and stakeholders, the next step will be to consider how you imagine the use of your future distributed marketing platform. To do this, you should consider what your current processes are and how you want the new system to improve these workflows. Are there any steps in your current asset production or distribution processes that you want to streamline? Are approval processes too slow and inefficient, and you want your new solution to improve the management of workflows for document validation? Is your company constrained by compliance issues and you want to “de-risk” your marketing campaigns i.e. easily limit risks at the brand, regulatory or licensing infringement levels? Perhaps you currently cannot respond rapidly – or at all – to partners, distributors, or customers who need your assets? You may also want the platform to have multi-channel marketing capabilities to allow you to not only create social and other digital forms of content, but also print material. It’s important to consider your current bottlenecks and various distributed marketing scenarios so that you’re able to ask potential vendors what mechanisms and functionalities they propose to meet your unique needs: campaign templating, full audit trails, editing and approval workflows, document personalization, permissioning etc…
4. Determine which tools should be interconnected
Finally, when preparing your Web to Print project, it is important to consider which tools in your existing marketing and commerce stacks you intend to interconnect with your new solution. These integration points may include your multimedia library solution, such as a Digital Asset Management platform, for retrieving and deploying photos and other marketing assets within new documents, a Product Information Management (PIM) system for automatically updating product files, a print procurement solution for ordering prints produced in the system, or content creation tools like Adobe Creative Cloud or Microsoft Office 365 etc… If your organization uses a wide variety of technologies and applications, you will want to implement a high-performance API-driven platform that is able to support your digital operations and seamlessly integrate with your existing tools and processes.
Identifying your distributed organization’s key needs, stakeholders, processes and tools will help you begin your consultation process and understand how potential providers can meet your company’s needs and the current context of its operations. After all, it was most likely the inefficiencies in your current processes that have motivated your company’s decision to deploy a distributed marketing system. You will therefore want to find a partner with the solution that can answer your pain points and that corresponds to all aspects of your business. With a wide range of vendors to choose from, these 4 steps will act as a guideline to help you analyze, compare, and eventually shortlist the vendors whose products and services stack up to your unique business needs.