As direct marketing capabilities have expanded, and campaigns have become more complex, ensuring quality has become more difficult. In addition, projects such as affinity group membership cards often require detailed legal disclosures that must be letter perfect, even when they stretch to multiple pages of eight-point type.
For projects like these, word-for-word proofing by sight is not practical or even possible. Nevertheless, it is essential – and sometimes required by law – to provide evidence that processes have been complied with, and that the end product has been verified.
Goal Is Client-Accessible Proofing
Some of the largest consumer brands in the world depend on the expertise of Naehas, Inc. in multi-channel marketing and media procurement to automate and optimize their direct mail, email, mobile and online marketing campaigns. Direct marketers in these organizations facilitate their processes and shrink costs with the Naehas On-Demand Marketing and Communications Platform.
The Naehas Platform facilitates the process of creating targeted direct marketing campaigns and makes it possible to involve a broader range of stakeholders than is typical in the traditional supplier role. According to Rodger Smith, Naehas Senior Solutions Architect, the company wants to involve as many true end users as possible throughout the process. Whether the client is a program manager, a project specialist responsible for campaign execution, or a marketing account executive, the Naehas goal is to make the tool accessible, so the client doesn’t have to be technical to use it.
“It’s important that the end user see what the actual marketing product will look like,” he says. “They want assurance that the changes they made were incorporated into the mailing and that they didn’t inadvertently alter something else when they made the changes.”
With Higher Volumes, More Variations
With the drive to make communications personally relevant, the number of versions in a campaign has ballooned to the point where a single campaign can have literally thousands of versions, some with only very small differences. It is critical that the right information get into the right version of each document and that each version be proofed for accuracy.
In the past, the standard marketing process was to generate a proof, print it for review, incorporate changes, print the next proof, then lay the two versions side-by-side on a desk and compare them to ensure that the correct changes were made. The steps would repeat until the final version was approved. With the burgeoning volumes and versions, this process was impractical and inefficient. The goal was to move the review process from the manual, printed examination to a more efficient digital method that would fit seamlessly into the workflow.
Powerful Integration of Platform and Proofing
Naehas began working with Compart to come up with a way to take output destined for variable data printing and examine it from a third party perspective to reveal the variations. The new proofing process incorporates Compart’s DocBridge Delta document comparison into the Naehas platform. DocBridge Delta finds and analyzes differences between individual documents or data streams electronically.
According to Smith, Compart is the only company that could integrate workable, reliable automated digital proof comparison into the Naehas platform. The combination shows true versatility and power in high-volume, highly versioned direct marketing such as letters, solicitations and upsales to existing customers.
Shaving Hours Off Proof Cycles
”We’re saving at least an hour per proof cycle already,” says Smith. We’re also able to manage many more versions of a campaign than users would typically see in a traditional structure. And since one of our key value propositions is message relevance, this is very important to us.
“We can also get campaigns to the market faster, which is critical. As soon as our clients have identified their audience and the right offer, they want to get it into the hands of their prospects right away. They’d like to do it in a of couple days if they can, so anything we can do to turn a job around faster without sacrificing quality or accuracy is a plus.”
Uncommon Solution for a Common Problem
To make it easier for these users, many non-technical, to understand exactly what will be going out to customers and what it will look like, Naehas provides interactive proofing of each version of the marketing piece.
Clients can now digitally proof all aspects of very large direct marketing campaigns – for example, a mailing for bundled telephone, Internet and television packages or for credit card solicitations – quickly and interactively without leaving their desks to deal with printed output.
“There is a huge need for this out there. Being able to provide clients with a faster, better way to proof their documents is a significant advantage both for us and for them,” says Smith.
Easier Electronic Proofing of Final Versions
The new process presents stakeholders with a directly viewable electronic version of their marketing materials. Instead of deciphering data variations by spreadsheet, clients see the actual product as it will look in the final version, which is easier to understand and faster to proof, correct and approve.
The Compart model produces both PDF and HTML output that can be sent to anyone and reviewed interactively. These two output formats contain visual, structural and text content comparison information. There’s no need for a proprietary tool on the desktop or an end user license, and no need to know in advance how many people will require a proof. With this capability, Naehas can provide immediate review copies, whether there are two people who need to see the piece, or 200. The text content comparison allows the user to quickly see how the messaging has changed independent of how the text is positioned on the page.
Collaborating with Compart
According to Smith, another advantage of this partnership has been Compart’s willingness to work with Naehas to come up with unique, specialized solutions. “Compart understands that there are ways to apply their product beyond what they initially planned and designed. They’re willing to talk through the ideas and suggestions and create prototypes to make those applications real. This close collaboration is how this new proofing process was created. We are already working with Compart on additional enhancements that will further automate the process and provide our clients with improved efficiency without sacrificing accuracy or flexibility,” he notes.