Like many publishers, ASI once had its advertisers submit files manually to an online ftp site, at which point premedia staff would review the ad and run a manual preflight to determine if it was acceptable. After preflighting, production staff would circle back to the client with questions and corrections. Clients often took hours or even days to work with the publisher to rectify common problems.
An improvement came with an online submission system, though this would not prove to be the ultimate fix. The preflighting and approval processes still took time, as production staff had to notify clients to log in at a later point to make necessary corrections.
Both of these systems, in other words, were inadequate. “Time consuming, with too many touch points,” recalls to Haitham Barakat, Executive Director of Production at Advertising Specialty Institute.
For ASI, a better solution was conveniently on offer through the company’s print partner, RR Donnelley, which maintains an affiliate partnership with Blanchard Systems, developer of the SendMyAd ad portal. SendMyAd is a cloud-based ad management system enabling submission, preflighting, formatting, correction and approvals in real time, via a clean, easy to use interface.
Because of the affiliate partnership, the submission and approval process is fully integrated with all print and digital production processes, allowing the company to easily create products across print, Web and mobile delivery platforms.
“SendMyAd is the front end,” Barakat says of the streamlined production process. “Once it is approved, a channel goes to Donnelley, our printer for all of our magazines and catalogs.” At that point ads are integrated with an editorial interface, Dalim ES.
“All the ads and editorial drop into that system … to create the publication. Once we approve it, it funnels into [RR Donnelley’s] print division and a division which creates our digital editions. It’s really cool—all in one workflow. It eliminated a lot of touch points because it’s one approval cycle.”
In addition to its cross-platform compatibility, SendMyAd is able to work seamlessly with RR Donnelley’s production and workflow tools to facilitate an integrated process for advertisers running ads in multiple publications.
“SendMyAd made it a lot easier for us to pick up ads in general, whether within the same publications or across publications,” Barakat says.
For advertisers, the process is also much smoother. ASI enjoys 100 percent compliance from its advertisers, who quickly discovered SendMyAd to be “a lot more sophisticated” than the previous browser-based system, Barakat says. The conversion process was easy, he adds, with a short learning curve for customers migrating to SendMyAd.
Cloud-based tools built into SendMyAd include interactive preflight reports instantly matching ads to publisher specifications, a built-in, easy-to-use trim editing tool and how-to videos allowing clients to understand the best solution to any problem. Approved ads are automatically metadata-tagged and archived for easy retrieval and reuse.
“It offers one interface for your client,” Barakat stresses. “It’s easy to use and real time, so the user experience is lot better [for actions like] pickups. It’s an easy workflow.”
For ASI, the portal is a money as well as time-saver, allowing the company to better allocate resources to optimize production efficiency.
“It increased our efficiency because of fewer touch points, and it allowed access to more features for the staff,” Barakat says. “The biggest thing was pick-ups, re-allocating [ads] to another publication or changing the size. A lot of those small features were not available in the previous system. [Production staff] had to go to someone else at ASI to get it done.”
Actions that used to require multiple levels of permission to accomplish are now taken care of right from within the portal. “One of the greatest things about SendMyAd is it is real time. Before the advertisers leave the upload screen, they’ve already reviewed it, approved it, and it’s good,” he says. “The prior system would take us so much more time.”