Organizing, storing and having access to all of your digital marketing assets in one place is clearly the primary objective when you’re shopping for a marketing portal. But there are additional benefits, particularly when this portal includes global web-to-print capabilities.
One of these added benefits is inventory management. Now, you might think this is a dry-as-toast concept. But we’re not talking about merely getting an alert when “Sales Flyer #16” is running low, triggering a re-order at the printer’s.
A robust inventory management component of your marketing portal should do much more. Yes, quantities of your marketing materials should be monitored in real time, and you should get detailed reports of product usage as often as you need them, complete with specific usage history for every product.
You want a portal that offers automatic product replenishment and lets you plug in built-in approvals for re-ordering. Without these capabilities built into the portal, marketers are forced to rely on human intervention when inventories dwindle. How inefficient. What a time waster, and therefore costly.
Marketing portals need to offer you tracking tools that incorporate usage data, such as Google Analytics, so you can monitor requests for products and avoid having zero inventory.
This is pretty standard stuff for strong inventory management systems. What would make a system even more valuable to marketers? Assistance in determining how printed materials should be produced, based on usage history and reporting.
For example, let’s say you have a 4-page data sheet in inventory for a relatively new product line. It’s set up on the portal as a POD (print on demand) item, since it's a perfect size for a digital press. But – and this is a big “but” – the reports off the system are showing you that this flyer is, well, flying off the shelves all over the country, and not in quantities of 5 or 10 or 50, as predicted. No. Sales reps are ordering them from the portal by the hundreds. This is no longer a job for a digital press. It’s more efficiently printed in larger quantities on offset presses. It will cost less, too.
Does your marketing portal vendor provide such insight, after reviewing your inventory statistics, and offer this sort of recommendation? It should.
Here’s another example. You have a generic Welcome Kit that’s been used by the company for years. It includes a “getting started flyer,” maybe a few posters, some display labels and several promotional items. Field reps love these Welcome Kits; they order them for every new client. You keep a huge inventory of these kits in storage and don’t pay much attention to them.
Yet by personalizing certain components of your Welcome Kit, you could enhance the relationship and produce something unique and memorable for every customer. Maybe the posters or labels should be printed digitally. They could be personalized with images, content, or the customer’s name – and perhaps a QR code or a PURL. And once these items get produced digitally, your inventory goes down, saving you storage costs.
Your marketing portal developer should be able to help you identify such opportunities, which will not only improve your campaign and strengthen customer relationships, but also save you money.
So think about the inventory management function of your marketing portal differently. It’s not only about tracking usage and maintaining product inventories. You should expect some additional print production intelligence. What’s being produced digitally that should really be printed offset, and vice versa?
This kind of ‘printing intelligence’ will help your company reduce waste, save money, and be much more efficient.