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Onmi-channel publishing automation

What should be automated in marketing?

Marketing automation and inbound marketing are hot topics for marketing. People are concentrating in content production, and automation provides content to potential customers right when and where needed. The marketing automation system replaces ten separate systems and significantly reduces manual work. But can basic marketing automation handle all the publishing in all channels? In my own experience, it is worth exploring options for automating multi-channel publishing, especially if the offering contains a lot of products.

Like all other content, product content should also address its readers correctly and be targeted at each phase of the purchasing path.

Why then is the product content publishing so burdensome? Like all other content, product content should also address its readers correctly and be targeted at each phase of the purchasing path. This need leads to a huge amount of product information.

For example, if you take running shoes, the content for the purchasing path can go like this. First of all, interest in running and getting shoes is inspired by inspirational running pictures in social media. Once there is an interest in the topic, the potential customer may be interested in tips for shoe selection. This can be followed by a comparable sports shoe test of different shoe options. Eventually, one gets to the product page of a shoe from where one buys online or alternatively the shoes are bought from the nearest store.

If we consider that the range of this company includes a hundred shoe models with variations, we are suddenly talking about managing the release of tens of thousands of product information.

When counting the number of separate pieces of product information for this single customer’s purchase path for this single product, it is likely that there will be more than a dozen individual pieces of product information including all the images, texts, feature data, store materials, and articles, not to mention the user recommendations. If we consider that the range of this company includes a hundred shoe models with variations, we are suddenly talking about managing the release of tens of thousands of product information. It is clearly impossible to manage such a quantity without any assistance from automation.

When you publish content to only one channel, it is likely that it is better to do the publishing through the channel’s own content management. As soon as the same content is published to multiple channels, you should consider centralized publishing.

So what’s the solution? As a rule of thumb you could say that when you publish content to only one channel, it is likely that it is better to do the publishing through the channel’s own content management. As soon as the same content is published to multiple channels, you should consider centralized publishing and associated product information- and digital asset management. This will save you from overlapping work.

If you think about the content of that earlier sports shoe example, it would probably be best to publish the content for the early phases of the purchasing path via a marketing automation system. Publishing of product-related product information to web pages, online store and potential merchandising materials such as posters, shelf labels, and other sales promotion material in the store, is not usually possible with marketing automation systems.

Publishing automation systems can be used to define publishing channels for each product information field, and to handle the actual publishing at the touch of a button.

Fortunately, there are also solutions that are just for this purpose. Publishing automation systems can be used to define publishing channels for each product information field, and to handle the actual publishing at the touch of a button.

Automation takes care of all the routine work and it is possible to make full use of the people where they are at their best.

What kind of marketing systems does a company with many products need, in addition to the marketing automation system and publishing platforms? I personally feel that a good product information- and a digital asset management system and the accompanying publishing automation module are often sufficient. In this way, automation takes care of all the routine work and it is possible to make full use of the people where they are at their best: in analysing, planning and in goal-oriented content production.

Five good reasons to get PIM

1. Does your product information management process look something like this?

If the answer is yes, contact us and we will help you.

tuotetietokaaos

2. Do you want to provide the best possible customer experience?

In that case, the PIM system is a relevant part of the solution. Through centralized product information management, you will be able to provide high-quality, correct and up-to-date product information through one source to all of your channels and stakeholders – both customers and your own staff.

3. Do you want to boost your product marketing?

By using PIM and its automated publishing solutions you can publish campaign leaflets, product catalogues or cards, create catalogues or leaflets, posters, price lists or shelf labels for shops just by a few presses of a button. You can publish in formats such as PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, and InDesign. See examples of publication solutions here  and here.

4. Do you want to be ready for fast, strategic changes?

If the foundation of your product information management is solid, expanding to new publishing channels, applications or new country or language versions is easy. Via PIM interfaces you can offer product information to e.g. your new retailer’s online store or website, to your customer’s purchasing system or any other channel that you wish to employ. There is no need reinvent the wheel every time.

5. Do you want to get rid of unnecessary manual work phases?

PIM allows you to automatize many routine tasks which would take a long time to do manually (and which often are the most tedious tasks as well). From PIM the product information is brought to the right stakeholders automatically. In addition, you can get rid of excessive copy pasting when you can rapidly produce e.g different Office or InDesign format product publications instead of requiring weeks’ worth of manual work.

Google <3 Product Information

Search engines – and especially the most glorious of them all, Google – are gatekeepers to all online content. Your website is virtually nonexistent if search engines cannot find it. Also, the competition for a spot on the first page of search results is fierce – very few have the patience to browse through all the pages, and a ranking on the second page reaps few rewards.

It is thus advisable to take some time to consider Google when setting up a website, online store or a product catalogue. The inner workings of the search algorithm are a well-guarded secret, but certain fundamentals are pretty easy to take care of on product information pages.

Product descriptions

  • Google penalizes you right away if product description is missing. Compose descriptive content that describes the product to the customer – and the search engine – as comprehensively as possible. However, avoid excess wordiness.
  • Always strive for unique content. Google lowers your ranking instantly if the same text is being recycled on several websites. It is worth your while to fine-tune e.g. the manufacturer’s descriptions a little, even though it might be easier to publish it as is. Here too setting yourself apart from the others is commendable.

Extensive, diverse content

  • Diverse content is rewarded: in addition to comprehensive written content, use images, videos, links, attachments…
  • If the page has no images ranking goes down. Pay extra attention to image alt texts, so that your page will appear in the image search results as well.
  • Offer plain language web addresses (URL addresses). In addition to Google, users too like links that convey directly what the page is about – it’s best to forget automatically created nonsense string addresses.

Offer many routes to your content

  • The ranking goes up if the website is referenced from several other websites, because this makes Google perceive your site as more trustworthy.
  • Importers, for instance, may boost the online store of the local wholesaler or retailer by linking to these sites directly from their own site. Take into account, though, that the websites need to be trustworthy (see Section ‘Don’t cheat’).

Invest in usability

  • Google – like the rest of us – loves pages that load quickly. Fast websites get a considerably higher ranking in the search results.
  • There will be a penalty if the mobile users have been neglected and the page does not scale to smaller screens.
  • Search engines also try to rate the quality of your site by monitoring how often users return straight back to the search result page after visiting your website. If Google notices that your website responds poorly to the needs of customers, your ranking will decline.

Don’t cheat

If you get caught cheating, the consequences might be severe: in the worst case you will end up on Google’s black list and your website will not be dropped from the search results entirely. You can earn Google’s disregard by, for instance, doing some of the following:

  • Buying external links referring to your website that typically come from notorious spam sites or social media accounts. If you get busted doing this, your site may be completely removed from the search results. Not a recommendable maneuver.
  • Flooding your website keywords with countless keywords and excessive repetition. Your ranking will likely end up at the bottom end of the results, even though everything else were AOK.
  • Dispersing broken web links that tell Google that your site is not up to date. This most likely will not drop you completely off the search results, but weakens your ranking in comparison to a web page that has working links.

You’ll receive more information about Product Information Management and its possibilities by leaving your contact information and we will get in touch.

Virtual Shopping Is (Almost) Here!

In collaboration with the Myer’s store chain, eBay has published the world’s first 3D virtual online store. This pretty simple concept consists of a cardboard “Shopticals” box, into which a smartphone is attached. An app is loaded into the smartphone which is then viewed through the cardboard box mount.

In a virtual store there is no need to click the mouse. All the choices and navigation are accomplished by aligning the gaze. If you look at a certain item or a product for a while, more detailed information will be listed. The store has 3D images of the most popular products in each product category. Right now the virtual store is available only in Australia, but surely we will soon have something similar.

Virtual shopping and the 3D world present new challenges for listing product information and sharing this information via different channels. 3D product images are clearly the first milestone, and maybe in a few years there will be product content for the other senses as well – like scents, virtual touch and feel and sound.

When product information and its foundation management are done right, it is easier to share information and refine this information toward new technologies and distribution channels. If you feel like your company’s Product Information Management needs to be improved, do contact us!

More information:
Manager, Customer Relations
Katri Koskentalo
040 167 8971
katri.koskentalo@canter.fi

Read also “Product information and buying”!

Product information is our most important capital

A few weeks ago, I was with a client who stated that in future, product information will be their most important capital. Products are sold through high-quality product information and it allows them to reach big targets, such as doubling sales revenue over the next couple of yers. For example, maintaining an online shop without the proper processes and tools is impossible for them, never mind further developing their business.

We have been working with product information for several years now and completed dozens of projects. Often, product information and PIM as a term have been completely new to our clients and we have worked hard to raise the awareness in Finland. Indeed, often we have started from the processes involved in automated publishing in relation to product information. These are based on company’s needs and their benefits are easier to grasp. Of course nobody wants to do product information just for the sake of it, that’s why it’s better to see its benefits as soon as possible.

It has been a great pleasure to note that a growing number of organisations has studied product information management, knows the terminology and it has been noted even on the upper levels of the strategy. In many businesses, product information management is part of the daily life. Of course there are more businesses that are only coming around it now. At its best, product information management is seen as one of the core processes that is meant for feeding information into channels that require it. Often, the client realises the importance of product information management as they set up their online shop. The online shop obviously requires quick reactions and real-time updates. This raises some eyebrows as old sales channels may have been functioning through manual processes for years. For example, it may take months to manually produce a printed catalogue whereas it could be produced in a fraction of the time if the process was automated.

Of course, the client’s statement raises their requirements onto a new level. How does one manage product information and more importantly, how do you use it efficiently to reach big targets? What should the processes be and how do the tools support them? These are some of the questions we gladly help our clients with. Take a look at the reference page and see how we have helped some of our current clients with their solutions.

 

The uniform appearance in the IKH price tags with Sales Tool

IKH implemented Adeona Sales Tool in over 130 stores all over Finland in order to uniform their price tags and make them appear more professional. It has made the creation of price tags fast and easy, saving money and headaches!

Prior to the implementation, each retailer handled the creation of the price tags, excluding chain-wide campaigns, themselves. This created varied tag layouts. With Sales Tool the layout creation and manual fetching of product information has been automated. Never the less, it is still possible for the retailers to alter the price of the product or the product information manually, if they so desire. All price tags also include a QR code, which the buyers can use to look up more detailed product information online while shopping.

Feedback from the retailers has been positive, and the new system has been received with joy:

I want to recommend the Sales Tool system, and extend my thanks to the marketing department for it! It works perfectly, and the overall look of the store has improved with the unified price tags. It also saves a ton of our time!

 

More information:

Katri Koskentalo
Manager, Customer Relations
katri.koskentalo@canter.fi
040 167 8917