Picture this situation: A sales executive based in Europe for a global manufacturer gets a request from a dealer for product images to use in an upcoming trade show. The EU-based sales executive sends an email to the manufacturer’s U.K. office. A sales coordinator in the U.K. office, in turn, contacts marketing teams in the U.S. and Japan where the correct images must be found on servers. In the U.S., the large image files are placed on an FTP site. In Japan, the files are sent via a large file transfer service to the sales coordinator. The sales coordinator collects the images and forwards them to the sales executive who then forwards them to the dealer.
What at first seemed like a simple request winds up taking a week to complete as it bounces from person to person in one country after another. Meanwhile, the customer waits and waits, wondering why it’s taking so long to get the requested images.
Although inefficient, this is how many companies handle the task of fulfilling requests for digital marketing assets such as product images, graphics, specifications, and technical documents.
Fortunately, there are better ways to manage this kind of process today. Companies are seeing immediate benefits, both internally and with customer relationships, when they adopt technology designed to automate this kind of time- and resource-intensive process — technology that also handles routine marketing tasks including fulfilling requests for literature and other sales materials.
Analyst Ian Michiels, principal and managing director of Gleanster Research, in a Gleansight Benchmark Report published in April 2013, exhorts marketers to “make existing materials more visible and easier to share.” He refers to technology systems specifically designed to distribute brand assets, which, he says, “can provide substantial value, especially in large, dispersed organizations where each group has been working separately.”
Eoin Vincent knows this very well. Eoin is Marketing Project Manager for Olympus NDT, Inc. (www.Olympus-ims.com), an international company that develops and markets industrial test, measurement and imaging instruments, and whose marketing, manufacturing and sales headquarters are located in Waltham, MA.
Until recently, Eoin and the marketing team were spending considerable time managing product image requests made by his international colleagues and sales teams. With numerous international offices, including Canada, China, Germany, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, U.K., and the U.S., 50 global marketing staff and 12 content managers handling requests concerning over 3,700 product images, it had become a mammoth task for the team. They needed to find a way to start saving time instead of spending it.
In search of a solution, Eoin found a Marketing Asset Management (MAM) software-as-a-service (SaaS) system that greatly simplifies the entire image request-search-fulfillment process. After a smooth implementation of the MAM system by Eoin and the international team, Eoin states, “We now have the advantage of being able to store and access all of our large image files in the MAM system. Authorized users in all of our offices can search for and find required images, and send them as links to requesting parties.” All the middlemen have been eliminated and days of time have been saved. Eoin continues, “We also don’t have to chase down images that pertain to products released by our other offices around the globe as we once did.”
Maybe best of all, he says, “Now we get images to our customers immediately.”
Eoin highlighted some of the benefits of RevBase ®, the MAM system he selected:
- Delivered as a SaaS solution, so there is no system infrastructure requirement or internal development needed
- Up and running quickly
- Large bandwidth and fast network connections, for global use
- Distributed content management
- Storage of any kind of content, flexible organization of content, meta tagging
- Consistent, efficient user experience
- Visual previews of all marketing assets
- Excellent customer support
The business case for a MAM solution delivered via the web by a vendor specializing in this kind of solution is compelling. Cost savings are realized by decreased need for staff and staff time as well as speedy fulfillment of requested materials resulting from placing all of a company’s marketing materials in one central repository and providing rapid yet secure access for authorized users.
For marketers, perhaps the most important aspect of a MAM solution is its ability to provide easy, efficient management of the number and kind of marketing assets that must be captured, stored, retrieved, and shared. For salespeople, it is the ease of finding, ordering, receiving and sending requested materials. Other important features include the ability to capture when a customer prospect opens assets that have been sent to them; automatic reports of how many and which materials have been used each week/month/year; and the ability by salespeople, distributors or franchisees to localize and personalize materials for specific customers or regions, while maintaining brand integrity.
Marketing internationally presents challenges for everyone. But thanks to new marketing asset management technology, marketers have an effective way to be continuously inter-connected with everyone in the marketing value chain. And marketers easily overcome what once were obstacles to sharing company messages and materials across multiple channels, time zones and continents.
About the Author
Scott Richardson is CEO and president of Longwood Software, developer of the RevBase® (www.revbase.com) SaaS marketing asset management solution and the ForFile® (www.forfile.com) SaaS file transfer service. Contact him at [email protected].