Many marketing departments want to provide personalized and/or customized marketing materials for sales reps, distributors, and customers. Personalized marketing materials are assets created for a specific individual; customized materials are created for a specific application, industry, or product.
In a wide variety of scenarios, marketing asset personalization and customization can be very powerful.
For several years, we’ve offered RevBase marketing asset management customers a personalization/customization module that’s worked well. But over time, we saw things we wanted to improve, to make the process easier and more flexible for customers.
A Customer-Driven Enhancement
Recently, two RevBase customers asked for customization tools for existing materials. We took that as an opportunity to rethink and re-implement our approach to personalization and customization. We now offer a new and highly flexible way for marketing departments to offer templates that can be personalized or customized, and enable easy creation of new or unique versions of a particular asset.
Customized Marketing Materials: An Example
One fairly simple example is stationery or other materials containing a company’s name, address, and other contact information. Take business cards and corporate stationery. We have a RevBase customer who wants their franchisees to have a range of branded materials. They want those materials to be easily created by franchisees – but be tightly controlled in terms of the format. That’s the job of the personalization and customization module within the RevBase marketing asset management system. In this case, it enables the marketing department to create templates or designs that allow franchisees to put their particular pieces of information into appropriate spots.
With this module, the franchisee can modify the marketing asset, download it, or even order printed copies of it. Two critical things that make this type of system work are #1: the ease with which the marketing department can create templates, and #2: the ease with which the end user can make a specific version of it, working with a customization engine.
Traditional Trade-Offs for Marketers
Historically, marketers have faced trade-offs in these cases. They could have a very complicated, proprietary environment – something elaborate, expensive, and time-consuming for template creation. In exchange for that significant investment, they could make it easy for the end-user to have their data inserted properly. Conversely, they could do something very quick and easy with templates, but take a hit in quality. For example, using Adobe Acrobat forms, they could allow users to type in information – but the result would be a fairly limited solution.
How We Combine the Best of Both Worlds
With our new RevBase approach, we make it easy for marketing departments to create templates that can be personalized or customized AND provide an easy experience for end users.
We do this by allowing marketing departments to use either Microsoft Word or a PDF as the template base. For example, a PDF that was created via design software might have certain regions where marketing wants users to be able to add an image and text. Our system will insert the user-provided content in the appropriate location. If they’re creating a new document and it’s not a highly designed piece of material (e.g., an invoice), they can create that in Microsoft Word. Word is a good tool because it’s ubiquitous and easy to use. In fact, it can be used to design some fairly sophisticated templates.
If you use Microsoft Word as the template base, the RevBase system can take the variable data from the user (e.g., their name, title, email address, etc.) and automatically insert it into the Word version. Then our system can either deliver the Word version modified by what the user has supplied or provide a PDF version. So it’s very flexible in terms of template authoring, the user experience of collecting the data, and the output.
Customized Materials: A Key Consideration
Another consideration with personalized and customized materials is: What is the user going to do with the materials once they’re created? In the RevBase system, they can enter any appropriate information for the template. When they create the item, they can view it immediately on a screen to make sure it’s what they want. Then they can download it if they need a digital copy – or add that asset to their shopping cart to be ordered as a print item in a print-on-demand environment.
Applications for Personalization and Customization of Marketing Assets
Many applications for personalization and customization exist, including co-branding of materials with distribution partners; creating application-specific, sales situation-specific materials based on input from sales; creating presentations that are specifically tuned for a given audience; and creating promotional materials that can be distributed through email and targeted to specific users.
Here’s another aspect of the system enhancement worth pointing out: We’ve allowed our customization engine to be used behind the scenes in batch mode. So for example, instead of having a user enter information on a screen, you can gather information in a file and have our customization engine read that file and create individual items for all names, contacts, or other appropriate information you have within that file – in effect, one version for each of those records. Besides using this for interactive personalization from the display, you can embed it behind the scenes within other applications. We believe there’s a lot of opportunity to help customers with that approach as well.
Our goal is to make it easy and practical to create co-branded, customized, specific versions of assets without the traditional headaches of template creation and complex user interfaces. This should yield more effective marketing, more finely tuned messages, and lower costs, by enabling users to create variations through the software, as opposed to having a desktop designer do it for them.
Are you interested in marketing asset personalization or customization? Simply click here for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.