The Designer’s Dilemma

Designers have more to do than hunt for images and product information. But when their printed and online designs involve complex data, they need tools to stay productive.

Graphic designers have powerful, unprecedented digital asset management solutions at their disposal. Tasks that once took days or weeks now take only minutes. Instead of waiting for specialists to deliver retouched images and typeset copy, a designer can do it all within sophisticated design software.
It’s a mixed blessing – especially in high-volume, product-intensive design projects. Think about catalogs or retail flyers with versions customized for multi-location retailers. Just because you can create infinite versions of a complicated piece doesn’t mean you have the resources to do so. The more complex a project is, and the more product and price variations each version requires, the more likely it is something will be missed creating more versioning reviews for marketing departments.

The High Cost of Data Handling

For B2B and B2C graphic designers, print and digital promotions very often involve products. Each piece features not only high-quality picture(s) but also descriptions, reviews, sizes, colors, pricing, and/or promotion details.
Now, multiply that by the number of products per page, the number of pages, the frequency of each promotion, and the number of local variations. With so much information to juggle, there’s a real risk of turning talented designers into data-entry operators. Hiring more designers is seldom cost-effective, especially if they don’t have enough time to design! It’s an endless cycle.

Just developing and finding images also consumes a percentage of a designer’s time. One study found that designers can spend 20 to 30 percent of their day looking for the right images – or the right versions – to use in a layout.

Cost of labor is only one factor. Data selection errors – the wrong image or price for one of many versions of a catalog, for example – can result in reprints, refunds, and even legal liability. Not only do designers have less time to design, they are increasingly prone to costly mistakes.

Real Automation to the Rescue

In the early days of desktop design, product and marketing information was available from many sources—often random and disorganized. The rise of Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Product Information Management (PIM) systems began to slowly change that. Designers still had to frequently search online databases and hope that they have the most up-to-date data.

Additionally, product information is very often a collection of related data from multiple sources. Making sure that every detail was correct—and current—was time-consuming, prone to errors, and left production racing to meet go-to-market deadlines.

Fortunately, real process automation between multiple data sources and the designers toolkit is now possible, also outlined in our Modern Day Hunting and Gathering blog covering the power of the LAGO plugin for Adobe InDesign. Using a collaborative workflow, marketing managers can pre-populate an InDesign template with all the required PIM and DAM data, leaving the designer free to design and produce multiple versions of a piece.

Creativity Within Constraints

A templated design workflow may seem like a contradiction in terms, but it’s not. With fewer hours chasing and entering data—and hoping it is accurate data—designers can focus on making the piece attractive and compelling. There are also important design decisions that cannot be automated. In fact, they are made easier because of automation. In the LAGO example, a template may contain a “block” of related data for a particular product, including more than one image for that product. In that case, the selection of just the right image, including color, orientation, and composition, requires a designer’s eye. Since the designer is not overburdened with chasing data details, they are freed up to focus on decisions affecting quality and messaging.

While automation can make the designer’s life easier and more productive, it can never replace their innate and valuable talent.

It’s All About Communication

Since the first cave paintings, designers have sought ways to communicate important ideas visually. Technology has enabled them to do so to a mass audience and, more recently, in a way that relates to each individual. Today, complex data are more relevant than ever. But whether the final medium is in print or on screen, the message always requires the skills of a visual communicator.

Using advanced systems like LAGO’s production capabilities to wrangle the data simply lets the designer focus on the skills that make their communication effective.


Press Release: Comosoft opens new office in Valencia

Comosoft opens new office in Valencia (Spain)

Using the potential in one of the biggest upcoming tech areas in Europe.

Hamburg, August 2021 – Comosoft is happy to announce the opening of another company location located in Valencia (Spain), additional to the valued locations of the Comosoft Inc in Plano (Texas) and Chicago (Illinois).

In the past years the city of Valencia laid its focus clearly on forcing innovation – especially in technology and software development. This found expression in a broad base of technology specialists and highly skilled professionals in the valencian area and all around Spain. To meet the expectations of Comosoft´s fast growing customer base, Comosoft decided to open a new office full of experts in Valencia.

“Well trained people, a good infrastructure and of course a very interesting market made the decision for Valencia very easy.“, says Peter Jozefiak, CEO of Comosoft. „We were able to assemble a very good and passionate team within a few months and integrate them into Comosoft.“

The Comosoft Technology Spain team consists of Professional Service Consultants, Software Developers and Sales Managers. With this team of experts Comosoft is also ready to enter the spanish and latinamerican market with full force, making the marketing material production more efficient with their unique multichannel solution LAGO.

“Betting on an international project in the IT sector has been a great challenge for my career but I could not be more satisfied with the decision, bringing a software to Spain and Latin America with so much added value for the retail sector is just fascinating!“, states Jennyfer Diaz Hidalgo, Sales Manager at Comosoft in Valencia.


From Insert to Internet

A successful recipe for marketing in food retailing adapted to current customer needs.

Grocery retail chains are facing unprecedented economic pressure throughout the developed world. Demographic shifts and demands for convenience, low prices, and customised service are mandating a whole new approach to multichannel messaging.

Grocery shoppers’ demands for convenience and value for money are increasing – and will continue to do so. The grocery business of tomorrow will succeed not by having the lowest prices but by inspiring shoppers to greater loyalty.

Marketing departments have begun to do this. The leaders have responded and evolved by using data more effectively. The process begins with highly relevant, ongoing campaigns – supported by all the devices and venues that individual shoppers prefer. Such a path to success can only be created when the retailer is in control of both the data and all its channel-specific applications.

Heeding the Warning Signs

Early last year, global consultancy McKinsey & Company published an ambitious call to action for the beleaguered grocery industry. Challenges to profitability include shifting demographics, new buying habits and technologies, and relentless pressure from competitors like Walmart. Grocery retailers, the authors proclaim, must embrace these disruptive trends. They must innovate in order to avoid a disastrous race to the bottom.

Innovation can take many forms. The study recommended that grocers build ongoing campaigns emphasizing one or more of the value propositions that define today’s shopping experience: convenienceinspiration, and value for money. Communicating and delivering on these imperatives – especially the first two – can happen via printed or online channels. But to do so efficiently, they all require mastery of one essential element: a mountain of product and customer data.

With Great Data Come Great Responsibilities

As we noted in our last article, grocery retailers have access to enormous volumes of data, from supplier-originated product data in a PIM to images and marketing data in a DAM. These data also include a myriad of pricing, inventory, and (depending on the number and location of branch locations) logistics information. If the retailer is proactive, they also include individual customer buying histories, thanks to loyalty discount programs.

Just having the data is of course not a great advantage. Knowing how to use it – in concert with marketing and store operations – is the key to success.

Start With the Basics

Untangling and optimizing all that data often begins with something all grocery retailers have but few utilize to its full potential: the lowly printed insert or circular. In the last article, we described how the Comosoft LAGO system is used, in connection with Adobe InDesign, to produce hundreds of regional variations from a single, “master” circular. As impressive as that is, it’s only the tip of the marketing iceberg.

In his October 2018 blog, content marketer David Kindervater noted that the “print is dead” trope is a fallacy. When it comes to marketing, print and digital are inseparable partners, not zero-sum rivals. Not only does print appeal to our sense of touch, it can also be highly customized, through the “magic” of data-driven, variable data printing. Today, grocery circulars can be customised to the individual store level, creating variants for almost any local situation. In the not-so-distant future, customisation of a mailed flyer can reflect an individual’s shopping preferences.

A major step in that direction is Comosoft’s Direct Individualized Marketing (DIM) module. Acting as a sophisticated traffic controller, LAGO DIM can take basic customer information (e.g., names and addresses) as well as preferences and purchase history, combine them with PIM and DAM information, and generate multiple, “one-to-one” campaigns for both print and digital media.

The Integration Challenge

No matter how well-designed a print or online campaign may be, the key to success will always be a retailer’s integration of complex data. Mobile shopping apps, in-store kiosks, and loyalty programs all rely on the same basic data as the lowly circular. If the basic data infrastructure is sound for print campaigns, it will give retailers a leg up when expanding their digital footprint.

Unfortunately, there is no out-of-the-box solution for creating a grocery retailer’s ideal data marketing system. There are simply too many variables. However, both vendors and major retailers are embracing the integration challenge. One prominent grocery chain recently re-vamped its data operation with the help of Comosoft specialists. “We integrated four robust systems into LAGO,” one senior IT executive remarked. “We were able to streamline marketing for produce and accelerate time to market across our regional and national brand’s print and digital platforms.” The chain was also able to streamline and reduce costs for both print and digital marketing campaigns. “Gone are the days of multiple deadline extensions,” he said.

Making the Connection

In the pre-digital, pre-industrial days, the local general store had just about anything a shopper might need. The owner also had a direct, personal relationship with individual customers, whose needs and preferences were known. Those days are gone, but the desire for an intimate, personal connection still remains. The grocery retailer who can make that connection, virtually and with the aid of well-integrated data, will succeed at making their brand a trusted destination.


Ikea-award-eversfrank

IKEA's most eco-friendly print supplier

IKEA's most eco-friendly print supplier:

The Eversfrank Group wins IKEA Tulip Award

Sweden, October 2019 – On the evening of 9 October, the Swedish furniture chain IKEA hosted its annual Tulip Awards. Year after year, IKEA awards the prize in the form of a wooden tulip for the best printing performance in the production of its current catalogue. The Eversfrank Group is one of the prizewinners and scored highly with its sustainable print production concepts. Now the Scandinavian colleagues of the Eversfrank Group have brought the prize to Germany, where it was happily received by Managing Director Axel Polei. 

31 printing companies from 24 countries accepted the invitation to the small Swedish town of Älmhult, where the IKEA headquarters are located. The Eversfrank Group won the coveted prize in the “Sustainability” category for the “Best Sustainable Initiative” – after just two years of working with the Swedish furniture store giant. With its two largest production sites in Meldorf and Preetz, the printing company is now one of IKEA’s best printing suppliers. IKEA was particularly impressed by the print production according to the so-called “Healthy Printing” concept, with which the Eversfrank Group produces print products in an exceptionally sustainable way.

“In the spring and summer of this year, we produced a part of the IKEA annual catalogue”, says Ulf Malmberg, Manager Business Development of the Eversfrank Group, who closely supervises IKEA’s print production. “We have been continuously working on making our processes and production sequences even more environmentally friendly for years. Together with IKEA, we wanted to go one step further and implemented printing in accordance with the criteria of the Healthy Printing Principle.

Ikea-award-eversfrank

As a member company of the Healthy Printing Initiative, the Eversfrank Group is committed to working towards healthy print products in the long term by actively supporting positive impacts rather than just minimizing negative ones. “For example, we are working to ensure that all ingredients and materials in the printed paper cycle become a useful biological or technical resource for other processes,” explains Hauke Klinck, Environmental Manager of the Eversfrank Group. “Our long-term goal is to produce printed products that contain 100% defined biocompatible components that are safe to compost, can be used in other products, or can be incinerated without a contaminant filter. For IKEA, a catalogue production was made possible, among other things, by changing the sheet and roller colours to the Cradle to Cradle® standard with improved and sustainable properties.”

Axel Polei, Managing Director of the Eversfrank Group in Meldorf, emphasizes that the award is due to all employees who have worked energetically with IKEA and contributed to this success. “It is highly motivating to be honoured by such a renowned customer and it shows us that the environmentally conscious path we have been taking for years is the right one,” he concludes.


Case Study: Bass Pro Shops

Check out this in-depth case study to see how Bass Pro Shops is using Comosoft LAGO
to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their retail marketing operations.

 


Press Release

COMOSOFT EXPANDS THE SOUTH AMERICAN MARKET 

Comosoft successfully continues course of internationalization and finds the right partner in Brand&Label to develop the Latin American market. 

South American digital transformation experts company Brand&Label SPA and Comosoft form a strong cooperation in South America (LATAM market).

Hamburg/Chile, February 2017: Comosoft, one of the leading providers of multichannel solutions for the segments „Consumer Goods & Retail“, „Mail order & E-Commerce“ as well as „Industry“ continue their course of international expansion launched over 16 years ago and have found the perfect partner in Brand&Label. The aim is to support businesses on the Latin American market actively both in digital transformation as well as with omnichannel commerce.

A solid foundation was laid more than 16 years ago with Comosoft‘s venture into the North American market: leading US agencies as well as some of the world‘s largest retailers (such as e.g. Sears, Lowe‘s, Walgreens, Bass Pro) from a wide range of segments rely on Comosoft GmbH‘s technical competence. About the time Comosoft GmbH entered the North American market, an important and successful trading firm for cosmetics in South America (Peru) was also acquired.

The cooperation with Brand&Label is a logical and important step to further expand in this promising future market. Brand&Label plays an important role in this process, allowing the cooperative venture to meet local customer tastes and requirements in the best possible way.

More than just the language – expertise par excellence 

An important factor to success as a German provider on the LATAM market is to overcome language barriers – no software can be used successfully if it is not professionally implemented with knowledge of the industry. In Brand&Label, Comosoft GmbH has found a young and dynamic team who are qualified in much more than just local languages. The team at Brand&Label are experts when it comes to digitization strategies. They know precisely how they can help businesses to save a lot of time and costs in marketing processes – and now they also have the right software tools in their portfolio.

Think global, act local 

Comosoft now hopes to bring their established expertise from international projects successfully to the Latin American market and work together with partner Brand&Label SPA to further leverage potential. Both companies share a passion for digital transformation/omnichannel commerce, a global mindset and local roots for successful implementations.

Benjamin Ferreau, Managing Director of Comosoft GmbH and responsible for global Sales & Marketing: „We are very excited that we have found a partner in Brand&Label to jointly support businesses in digital transformation. We are combining the best of two worlds – this is a perfect fit, not only in regard to business expertise but also on the people side.“ 

Sebastian Hercovich, Founder and CEO of Brand&Label: „We are a young and dynamic team that provides businesses with solutions that meet the constantly increasing requirements of the market – that‘s why we look for experts with solutions. In Comosoft and the LAGO software, we have found the perfect partner, true experts in everything related to multichannel solutions and product information management. We look forward to working together!“ 

Images available on request.
Contact: Christin Oswald | Sales Assistant | Tel.: +49 40 853318-0 | c.oswald@comosoft.de


Press Release RAJA

Comosoft, the leading supplier of PIM- & Multichannel Media Production Software, wins over Europe‘s number one in packaging distribution, the RAJA Group.

RAJA is establishing the basis, with its strategic project entitled “RAJAMEDIA“, for further development of its multichannel customer approach. Comosoft is providing the corresponding software solution (PIM) jointly with IBM (MDM).

 

Hamburg/Paris, October 2016 – The French RAJA Group, with its expertise in packaging products, has been transforming itself into a multichannel player in recent years. Catalogues, online shops, telemarketing and 19 country-specific disctributors in Europe have to date been the main sales channels for the group‘s extensive high-quality range of products. As part of its efforts to expand in this respect, the company launched, in 2015, the RAJAMEDIA Vision project, which has given rise to a wide search for a suitable system solution or solutions. The four-stage selection process has finally found the right candidate: LAGO4 from Comosoft.

These are just a few of the features that helped to swing the decision of the RAJA Group:

  • The combination of complete PIM and MAM systems within the core, including fully integrated transfer of data into the desktop publishing program InDesign.
  • The high-performance “whiteboard“ feature, which allows products to be dragged and dropped quickly and efficiently into catalogue pages for layout planning purposes.
  • Media planning allows the E-Commerce Department to structure and organise all its online shops, complete with
    product-feeds into specified categories.
  • LAGO4 was also the only shortlisted candidate to offer both a fat client and a web client with similar coverage. This allows each department to work in its own way, while also permitting unrestricted access when on the move.

“We have come through a long and intensive selection process, and are 100% confident that we have found, in Comosoft, an enormously innovative, long-term partner with whom we can optimise our internal processes and continue to develop our competitiveness“, states Hélène Gariba, project manager of RAJA MEDIA.

“The important selection factor for us was the combination of technological foresight, functional availability and a good basis for mutual communication“, continues IT program manager Lionel IT Lionel Moraux.

Other joint projects envisaged for the future include automated customisation (based on a one-to-one approach) and an online marketing suite (for the simple creation, approval and distribution of online content).

“We are very pleased, after what has been a long and intensive selection process for us, to be able to satisfy the needs of the RAJA Group. The company is not just totally compatible with our range; the joint team also works together perfectly - which is a well-known prerequisite when it comes to the successful implementation of software-based initiatives. All this is in addition to the fact that RAJA has provided us with a good basis for further expansion into the French market; including the setting-up of a corresponding subsidiary in the course of 2016“, in the words of Benjamin Ferreau, CEO of Comosoft GmbH.

We will be pleased to supply accompanying images on request.

Contact person: Pia Kröger | Marketing Manager | Tel.: +49 40 853318-0 | pia.kroeger@comosoft.de


Presse Release HAWESKO

bildschirmfoto-2016-10-14-um-17-12-02
COMOSOFT ‘BEWITCHES‘ HAWESKO IN MEDIA PRODUCTION - HAWESKO CHOOSES LAGO4.

Germany‘s leading provider of top quality wines and champagnes will be putting its trust in Comosoft GmbH for its PIM and multi-channel media production system. Structured, fast, flexible and multi-channel - Hawesko has been won over by the LAGO4 software from comosoft for its product information management (PIM), media asset management (MAM) and multi-channel export to assure continuous information flow across all sales channels.

Hamburg/Tornesch, March 2016 - Hawesko GmbH has selected LAGO4, one of the world’s leading PIM and multi-channel media production systems by the Comosoft company. Hawesko goes for multi-channel: print, online, mobile, social media. Hawesko went searching for a suitable PIM/MAM and multi-channel provider to expand its approach and the cross-channel activities associated with that.

It focused on finding a software that would meet three essential strategic objectives:

Time 2 Market
Individualization of all media production
Developing new channels

LAGO4 offers a comprehensive, combined core PIM and MAM system as well as a fully integrated export into InDesign, its desktop publishing program and was thus able to exactly meet Hawesko’s expectations. With its high-performing whiteboard, Comosoft’s product manager provides an aid for quickly and efficiently designing catalog pages well as the entire multi-channel activities using drag-and-drop. The e-commerce department will  be able to structure, organize and finalize its integrated webshop by using the media design and product feeding to the desired categories. LAGO4 also provides a fat client and a 100% congruent web client. This allows every department to work in its preferred form and also have unrestricted access when on the road.

“We have a very intensive selection process behind us and are now 100% confident that we have found a very innovative and long-term partner for optimizing our internal processes and expanding our competitiveness,” said Ina Dittman, Project Manager at Hawesko.

“From the beginning, we believed in providing Hawesko with just the right ingredients in the form of software modules - in fact, we dubbed the project the ‘media production bewitchment’. After its intense selection process, we are all the more thrilled that Hawesko decided on us,” declared Benjamin Ferreau, Managing Director of Comosoft GmbH.

Hawesko is already making future plans with Comosoft to address automated individualization (One2One address) and roll-out for further concepts based on the foundation that’s been laid.

 

Please contact the comosoft GmbH Press Office for more information.
CONTACT PERSON: Pia Kröger | Marketing Manager | Tel. : +49 40 853318-62 | pia.kroeger@comosoft.de