Today’s CMOs are fearful of losing brand control, so they often manage print centrally and ship to local teams.  In doing so, however, they could be relinquishing control. By shipping large quantities of homogenised content, they simply force local printing underground.

Every office has it. A cupboard, or in some cases a whole basement, of shame. Here is where outdated flyers, brochures, and catalogues, characterised by homogenised and impersonal content, go to die. Occasionally seized last minute by a desperate team member looking to fill an event stand; or else discarded in favour of ‘rogue’ marketing materials, produced and printed by local offices looking to satisfy their need for personalised and on-demand content. Without the visibility of factors such as quality, message, brand and cost, HQ remain unaware that their brand has gone totally off-piste, comforted instead by the assurance that control lies in centralised processes. It’s a story we hear of all too often, but why?

It seems as if many have lost sight of why they print in the first place. It has become a laborious task that must be done; but without much care, and often with hit-and-miss results. If we put ourselves in the shoes of a prospective foreign student for instance, bravely yet also apprehensively sifting through a university prospectus written in an unfamiliar language, with homogenised images of British students and their experiences. It is not hard to see how the shining prospectus designed to entice, has become alienating in the hands of the overseas student.

In a world where the products we buy are constantly improved, changed and updated, printed content very quickly becomes outdated. So, whilst it’s cheap to churn out material in high volumes, continually having to replenish the static content certainly is not. When it comes to cost, unit price is just one aspect for consideration. The admin time that goes into a print campaign, from design to logistics, can be huge involving a whopping 10% of staff. This somewhat ‘hidden cost’ is exacerbated further due to the repetitive nature of the process; re-printing every time there is a product change or new market for expansion.

More pressing than cost is the way outdated and impersonalised content reflects on the brand itself. Shiny logos and unique brand messages are no longer enough. People expect personalised content that speaks directly to them. Customization and tailored messages are driving change across all aspects of marketing, so why not hold your print to the same standard?

We want our customers to rediscover the potential of print and to recognise the value of personalization. To do so, we must empower local agility. But how can CMOs reconcile the idea of empowering local teams to print on-demand and localized content with the need to maintain brand control? The solution lies in removing the brand control concern all together.

But the question still remains how?

Digitise your print management.

Here at Gelato, we have built a printing software with tools that enable top level to stay in control of what matters to them: brand and cost, whilst enabling local teams to focus on operational effectiveness. Implementing a digital asset management tool gives your teams the autonomy they desire within a controlled and observable online environment.

So, when it comes to the prospectus for the overseas student, the university’s central marketing team can upload the file to the platform as an editable template, where regional offices can then access, customize and order content for the relevant market. The prospectus now empowers the overseas student to envisage themselves taking on the adventure of studying abroad.

Personalisation is just the beginning. Access to editable templates gives your sales and marketing teams the flexibility and agility required when selling products that are constantly evolving. Expansion into overseas markets is simplified through the platform, which allows local teams to translate into relevant languages. When your teams have the power to order exactly what they need, rather than receiving mountains of static content from HQ, waste is also reduced drastically.

Employing technology to let go of control - in order to regain control, may be a paradox, but it is the solution that many CMOs did not know existed. Using a digital print platform offers the best of both worlds: centralised brand management with the flexibility and agility of localized printing. Finally, print management that is in line with your marketing strategy, and ultimately print that you can be proud of.