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Retail has come a long way and so have we

It’s been more than 25 years since Matrix hit the scene. In that time, the world of print and digital marketing has seen some big changes, and we’ve had to change things up a few times to keep up with changing retail trends and the rise of new technologies. 

Matrix was formed all the way back in 1991. Back then, creative departments primarily produced collateral for print. Then web came along and customers demanded more from retailers, including expanded product lines and rich media in product descriptions. This meant that marketers had to adapt to multiple new marketing channels while still producing high quality print material. We responded by creating MatrixCMS – an integrated product management and publishing solution – which continues to be used by some of the world’s largest retailers.

With MatrixCMS, your assets are categorised, sectioned and tagged to make them easy to find with a quick search, so you’ll know exactly where to go when you need something. And it’s bursting with functionality that makes catalogue design nice and easy. It automatically repaginates brochures and catalogues as you go, creates indexes and content sections, manages cross references, and tells you what digital assets, text or images are missing from your catalogue.

Bear in mind that print is still relevant to the modern marketing landscape – it boasts a response rate 600% higher than its digital counterparts, and personalised print and digital marketing can have a tangible effect of up to 31% boost in profits. So for any retailer wanting to get the most out of their print and digital marketing content, MatrixCMS is an ideal fit.

Of course, the team’s grown since we launched MatrixCMS (and we’ve scaled up to a swish new office in Manchester!), and so too have customer needs, so we knew it was time to take our PIM offering to the next level. Allow us to introduce Pimberly – the most powerful PIM solution on the planet.

Pimberly lets you efficiently manage more products, with increased control and higher efficiency than ever, while still providing compelling, high quality product information. It allows you to produce the very best rich product content and deliver it with ease, and its intuitive user interface is designed for speed and productivity, and is adaptable to your needs.

Its product filters allow users to search their product database by attribute, such as manufacturer or brand – just like an eCommerce website. Attributes are configurable, as are products, and users can add or change descriptions, images and video, categories, copy, price, and more. The Feeds feature can receive data from any number of disparate sources such as data aggregators, suppliers and ERP systems, and shows users where the product information originated. Channels deliver data to any external source, including your website, customer support and ERP systems, resellers and more, and shows users where product data is being delivered to.

Simply put, Pimberly affords users greater control over the quality of their data. It helps distributors stay ahead in the marketplace by providing a completely scalable, easy to use solution for automated product information management. It allows content to be pushed out across all routes-to-market quicker than ever, and as a cloud-based platform, Pimberly makes the management of rich data hassle-free, while reducing maintenance costs, work-hours and implementation times from months to days.

Likewise, Pimberly will not only save retailers time with automated data cleansing and enrichment processes, they’ll see an increase in customer loyalty, too. Customers tend to lose faith in a brand if they’re presented with inaccurate information too often. But with Pimberly, users can rest assured that any inaccuracies will be filtered out before customers see them. It’ll also make sure that rich data is enhanced for SEO, and localisation functionality will help retailers reach their intended audience wherever they are.

Want to know more? Call 0161 804 1850 or email sales@pimberly.com. To keep up with all the latest news and blogs, follow us on Twitter @pimberlypim or follow us on LinkedIn.

Bridging the gap between product management and design

Getting your print collateral just right requires cooperation between multiple departments: creative, marketing, product management and data teams to name just a few. Unfortunately, having so many cooks – including ones who’ve never dealt with a creative brief before – can make it difficult to get consensus on what the key focus of different spreads is, leading to rounds of time-consuming amends.

In MatrixCMS, product managers can just drag and drop elements onto a page to create a visual brief that shows products and page hierarchy, ready for designers to pick up and refine in InDesign. And best of all, it only takes minutes to create.

MatrixCMS is designed to streamline print production and centralise product information in five key ways. Here’s how it can help you bridge the gap between product management, project management and marketing…

Drag and drop creative briefs

Rather than asking your product teams to fill out a creative brief – a time-consuming and manual exercise in which they’re likely to encounter new and ambiguous instructions – MatrixCMS allows product teams to drag and drop product codes, descriptions and images onto a page to demonstrate which products need to be featured where. MatrixCMS then sends this document to your designers, who can refine the plan and design the page in InDesign.

Access to rich media assets

As well as raw product data, MatrixCMS can house product imagery and other rich media, so product managers have access to promotional materials from suppliers, plus content you’ve created in-house. Not only does this make it easier for them to add rich media to product descriptions (great for increasing online engagement), it makes it far simpler for them to see their options when it comes to images for print marketing, and identify images that have been used previously or are out of date. This way, they can manage visual assets in the same way they do data, so internal marketing teams will always have the most up to date imagery and assets.

Centralised product information

MatrixCMS stores all your product information in one central repository, so you have a single version of the truth that can then be pushed out to all your web and print channels, ensuring your product data is always consistent. It reduces the risk of customers encountering conflicting data if they check two sources, as all your channels can be updated at once. And because your staff are no longer manually updating each and every product on each and every channel, they have more time to invest in moving the business forward.

Template-driven automation

Common marketing types can be templated so that any staff member (or reseller, if you’re providing materials for people further down the sales chain) can update images and text, if the job is too small or time-critical to be referred to a dedicated team. For example, staff at Flight Centre produce personalised itineraries for each of their clients.

Integrated approval systems

Workflow tools are built right into MatrixCMS, so project managers can see the status of various pages of a project, and use automated alerts to ensure design, product and data teams get the right information at the right time. MatrixCMS also supports an automated approval workflow, where proofs are distributed, annotated and signed off from within the software, rather than incurring extra print costs by carrying out hard copy approvals.

Want to know more? Call 0161 804 1850 or email info@matrixcms.com. To keep up with all the latest news and blogs, follow us on Twitter @matrixtweets or ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Why you should care about catalogues in 2017

Over the last few years, digital marketing has made its way to the heart of most companies’ marketing strategies. Whether you were won over by the instantaneous nature of social channels, the ‘stickiness’ of video content or the eye-popping possibilities afforded to us by recent advances in VR, chances are print is no longer the most exciting part of your marketing strategy. Which is odd, because it still works. 

As recently as mid-2015, the DMA were reporting direct mail response rates were nearly 600% higher than for digital channels, and it’s still pulling ahead of digital channels in this year’s report (heads up: it’s a paid paper). And research by Royal Mail has shown that, regardless of which age group you look at, 26.7% of consumers say that they’ve purchased something as the result of direct mail in the last year.

So why is direct mail still working?

A popular theory is that unlike emails and social media notifications, some of which we receive an almost overwhelming number of, well-crafted print pieces have rarity value. Their very unusualness makes them eye-catching and memorable, meaning your messaging stays front of mind for longer.

And if you combine this with personalisation (one of everyone’s predicted hot trends for 2017, as it leads to a rumoured lift in profits ranging from 31% to 10% depending on who you ask) you can use print to make a lasting impact on your audience.

Even the cost per acquisition, a metric that you’d assume would get increasingly shaky for print as online advertising becomes better targeted, has stayed reasonable thanks to the shift to digital printing and a variable print workflow, which allows greater economy at smaller scales. You can even provide different areas of your organisation with templated documentation that they can personalise for customers and then send to print on an as-needed basis.

This means you can supply customers or groups with uniquely targeted content and still have money left over to invest in other channels. In fact, 52% of DMA respondents are now combining at least three channels on any given campaign. A highly personalised print piece can be used to generate initial impact, then transition customers over digital channels such as email and social. It also provides an element of trustworthiness – we’re all more likely to open the brochure of a company we don’t know than click on their pop-up ad – that can translate to more ready engagement on the consumer’s part once you’ve moved them to the digital pipeline.

Streamlining print production

While many of us are already cutting print costs by opting for digital over offset printing, it’s also worth bearing in mind that streamlining in-house production can bring down the cost of print media by making things more efficient in-house.

Centralised, accurate data, a streamlined approvals amends process and easy-to-use team management tools all help make things run more smoothly. Seeing them combined with PIM and CRM functionality in tools like MatrixCMS is likely to become increasingly common as we see the demand for content become more immediate and the number of channels content is duplicated to increases. After all, why update your catalogues and web platforms separately when you could drive them both from the same system?

For all this and much more, including exclusive demos, visit www.MatrixCMS.com, call 0161 804 1850 or email info@matrixcms.com. To keep up with all the latest news and blogs, follow us on Twitter @matrixtweets or ‘like’ us on Facebook.