I always talk about the disconnect between online and offline marketing. This is a condition I have seen time and time again. Doesn’t matter the vertical industry, region, or company size. One of the biggest limitations of the previous generations of integrated toolsets is that each toolset considers itself as the center of the universe and that all data should flow through that singular system. Having worked with most of the leading legacy DXM platforms and their predecessors, it is clear that integration is always something that is part of RFP selection processes and corporate architecture slides, but often is not reflected in systems as implemented.
When we work with our customers who are interested in data driven publications nine times out of ten data often lives in multiple backend systems. The use cases for the publications are numerous. Countless organizations maintain hundreds if not thousands of PDFs on their websites. These come in many forms: catalogs, data sheets, spec sheets, flyers, and others just to name a few. There is usually zero process or system integration when it comes to generating these publications. For instance, a company that maintains downloadable product spec sheets, often numbering in the hundred or thousands, these sheets are generated manually by the marketing department. Every time there is a specification change, someone in marketing usually gets a data export of changes from IT, manually edits an InDesign® file and then recreates and publishes a PDF. This is a horrible inefficient use if time and talent. More often then this becomes an exercise in copy and paste and has been the same process for years. These companies simply don’t know that there is a better way.
“Omnichannel organizations are now able to customize the offline experience”
In the web world, there has long been the idea of the “printable view” and basic web to print systems are plentiful and relatively unsophisticated. This simply maintains the disconnect between online and offline. Whereas the online experience is ultimately personalized, the publication and offline experiences remain static, anonymous, and devoid of any connection to the customer expectation of a modern experience. Some of the most advanced omnichannel organizations are now able to even customize the offline experience as well.
What if your customers could create their own customized catalogs directly from your ecommerce site and have that PDF instantly delivered to them based on whatever criteria they choose? Can’t pick a gift for that someone special? Can’t decide between the 4 pairs of shoes your looking at and what a friend’s advice? Pop them a quick email or text them a pdf of the options. Are you a sales rep trying looking to up your game? Instead of sending a catalog with 10,000 SKUs, what if during a meeting you created one with the 500 the customer actually cared about and it was in their inbox before you left? What if you have hundreds of dealers or franchisees who need to be able to create their own customized versions of your weekly flyer to meet their market demands?
All of these things and more are possible if you are able to have a truly integrated digital and publishing experience. Today’s CXM, DXM, CMS or whatever buzzword you want to use are truly limitless in their capability to deliver modern and highly personalized online experiences. What will allow an organization to set itself apart is to leverage these systems and their information to deliver a truly modern and high personalize Omnichannel experience?