Is print an endangered species?

Even though we keep reading about the decline of print marketing everywhere we look, marketing collateral continues to make up a significant portion of marketers’ budgets. Fully 30% of organizations spend somewhere between 20% and 30% of their marketing budgets on printed marketing materials. More than 80% of that spend falls into the marketing collateral category. So, far from dying out, marketing collateral continues to be a significant portion of a marketing organization’s budget.

84% of organizations reported that they routinely send old and outdated materials to their audience due to inefficiencies in their supply chains

(Source: CMO Council’s Mapping + Tracking: The Marketing Supply Chain Survey)

The problem is that 78% of organizations have a closet – or even a warehouse – full of old materials. In addition, 84% of organizations in that same study reported that they routinely send old and outdated materials to their audience due to inefficiencies in their supply chains and 55% do not have any access to real-time inventory or utilization levels (according to the CMO Council’s Mapping + Tracking: The Marketing Supply Chain Survey). That’s a shocking waste and a gigantic blind spot for a marketing department to work with.

There is a solution.

What makes the supply chain so inefficient in many organizations? First of all, there are often many vendors that are being used in the process. Secondly, there is often little to no organization of the digital assets for all of the materials to be printed. And lastly, it just takes too much staff time to manage the entire supply chain and therefore it takes too long to get relevant, up to date materials into the right hands at the right time.

For most, if not all, companies, a marketing collateral management system solves many of the common problems caused by the inefficiency of the marketing supply chain. What does a marketing collateral management system accomplish? Seeks to solve the problems by solving the following problems:

It centralizes all of the digital assets into a single, online system.

No more staff time wasted digging around for files or trying to figure out which version is the most up to date. One recent study showed that knowledge workers can spend up to 30% of their day simply searching for the information that they need in order to do their job.

It re-purposes your creative materials.

Imagine if you didn’t have to spend money over and over again to make simple changes to a piece of artwork. According to the 2016 DMA Statistical Fact Book, only 29% of companies have a specific process in place to ensure optimal content reuse and repurpose. This is a huge opportunity for savings. A properly-designed marketing collateral management system makes it possible for your organization to customize and make changes to a base template quickly and easily without needing to create new content.

It eliminates the multiple vendor problem.

Many companies struggle to balance several vendors and all of their individual vendor needs inside of their supply chain. A well-designed marketing collateral management system allows for an order to be placed from an online portal and be fulfilled and shipped in a matter of few days. No more coordinating a bunch of different vendors’ schedules - the system manages everything.

It eliminates expensive waste.

The costs associated with printing and storing collateral to fulfill later, only to find that it’s become obsolete before use, can be staggering. While it seems like you should save money by pre-printing a large volume of materials in advance, too often the cost of obsolescence and inventory management is left out of the equation leaving companies with no option but to destroy outdated marketing collateral or, in an attempt to save money, actually use old, obsolete marketing materials! (as 84% reported in the CMO study referenced above).

It saves your staff time.

And, as we all know, your staff’s time is your company’s money. This might be the single biggest opportunity of a well-designed marketing collateral management system. According to InfoTrends, (Web to Print Drives Print Volume and Ensures Economic Viability, 2014), the average cost to have a staff worker process a print order through a retail printer is $21.28. This includes the time to submit the order, proof it, etc… But, if you run that same order through an online portal, the cost drops to $3.80! It turns out that TIME may be the biggest cost issue to consider when it comes to deciding how marketing collateral is managed within an organization.

It allows for customization of any marketing piece.

Just imagine the cost of customizing and keeping track of all of the different versions of marketing collateral for a large sales organization, distribution network, or multi-location business. With a well designed collateral management solution, customization can be done in a matter of minutes. You don’t have to keep track of and store all of those individual versions. Versioning is done at the time of the order and you only print what you need.

It protects your brand.

As you order your materials from various suppliers, you will get different paper types, colors will vary, and sometimes even the creative will be different because of the different versions of the art files that might be floating around within your organization. It’s sometimes hard to put a value on the image of your company, but we all know that it’s a big deal, so why would you want to risk it? With a marketing collateral management system, all printed items come from the same file, are printed on the specified paper, with the brand color standards managed by a single supplier. Your brand image stays consistent and strong.

It gets the right piece to the right person at the right time.

Orders can be placed 24/7, on-demand, in a matter of minutes by anyone who has access to the internet, login credentials, and the approval to place orders. Your marketing collateral can be expedited and shipped as fast as the individual needs them (potentially overnight, even). This gives you the flexibility to respond quickly and strategically to changes in your audience or marketplace.

Did any of these hit a little too close to home? If you are currently managing marketing collateral for your organization, and you can relate to some or all of these issues, you may need the VariSpark E-platform. We’ll work with you to do a full analysis of your existing marketing collateral process. If we can’t use our tools to streamline your process and save your money, we will let you know and it won’t cost you a dime.So, what are you waiting for? Talk to a VariSpark representative today.

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