Right off the bat, The Marketing Store’s 2008 implementation of DALIM SOFTWARE’s DIALOGUE helped it improve efficiencies and slash hard costs.
A leading agency with 10 global locations and 1,000 employees, The Marketing Store delivers expertise in CRM, branding, package design, retail promotions, shopper marketing, and experiential marketing.
“We are a ‘through the line’” agency says Rob Tarpey, studio manager for the company’s Chicago location, “offering above and below the line marketing promotions.” Projects can include packaging programs, events, premiums–even designing and producing the toys found in kid’s fast food meals.
DIALOGUE is easily saving the studio between 8-12 hours for color approvals, says Tarpey. “Before, if we didn’t get a file out by noon, we had to wait till the next day to get the approval out,” he says. “Now, we can instantaneously pull the approvals. It takes a lot of the pressure off; we don’t have to rush to get the proofs out the door. It makes us more agile.”
The DIALOGUE installation was the result of a slew of factors. The Chicago studio, which likes to keep on top of sophisticated technologies, knew soft proofing was becoming a market force. It wanted to expedite its retouching and approval workflows, especially with the other global offices it works closely with. Finally, at the time of the installation, it didn’t have a hard copy system in house, and was looking to cut down on outsourced proofing costs.
Enter NAPC, a DALIM SOFTWARE reseller and systems integrator in Chicago, and The Marketing Store’s long-term partner. “They knew we were looking for a system that didn’t require IT expertise,” says Tarpey.
Easy integration with Xinet, the backbone of the agency’s prepress database, made DIALOGUE attractive from the first. “We had a user base—both internal and external–that was familiar with Xinet,” says Tarpey. “With DIALOGUE, we could easily plug into our Xinet system, and didn’t need another site or another password. We were able to keep the user experience as unaffected as possible—this made it very attractive to us. “
Benefits with DIALOGUE were immediate—it helped to enhance the internal retouching workflow–but it took a large-scale worldwide packaging project for a billion-dollar firm to demonstrate the full extent of what it could accomplish for the agency.
The project presented the Chicago studio—lean and mean with a staff of 15—with a huge challenge, both internally within the Marketing Store team and externally with the client.
Creative work for the project, including all the approvals and reviews, was handled by the agency’s Brand Design Experts in Birmingham, England, while Chicago completed most of the retouching and prepress. Agency account executives had to send files to the client’s local market approvers, located in far-flung locations throughout the world.
“The question we asked ourselves was how could we make this work with this deadline-driven business without having to wait overnight for approvals or reviews,” notes Tarpey.
DIALOGUE saved the day, letting the Chicago studio take on retouching, monitoring color management and tracking comments, while creative at Birmingham viewed the content approvals at its site. All the work was marked up in DIALOGUE.
On the client side, accounts were set up for the local market approvers and only files that they needed to see were uploaded. “DIALOGUE let us track all the approvers’ comments and see at a glance when the files were looked at it,” says Tarpey. “A consolidated sheet of all the comments was generated automatically by DIALOGUE and sent to creative for job changes.”
The faster approval workflow was part of the package presented to the client. “That was a big factor in the job, and we made sure they were aware we were using the technology to make their project work more efficiently,” says Tarpey.
For the agency’s account people, the on-line collaborative process inherent in DIALOGUE was a godsend, relieving them of the laborious task of trying to decipher the client’s changes. Prior to using DIALOGUE, collaborating with client approvers located in various countries was a challenge, and mark-ups could come back any which way from any number of people. Their comments, notes Tarpey, could be sent via email, fax—sometimes a paper napkin was used. “It took a lot of time just to consolidate all the meaningful material for job changes,” he says.
Adds Tarpey, “We stumbled upon on how much DIALOGUE helps with content approval. It’s been a big deal for us. We’ve given ourselves a road map; we are looking to go further, to blow this out to all our projects. There is no question that DIALOGUE will continue to be a huge part of our color workflow and content approval process.”