Jo (zaakvoerdster) en Oli

How online collaboration & automation allows you to truly scale your retail marketing

In record time covid 19 has taught us to work together with others, predominantly online or remotely. To enable this drastic change, disruptive tools are needed. The 2imagine platform allows different parties to work on and in a project simultaneously. Additionally, the 2imagine solution removes the reliance users have on external graphical designers. “ Our solution can help alleviate bottlenecks that typically constrain the workflow between marketer and external designer”.

At the turn of the century, Jo Heylen met Jos Claes, CEO of 2imagine, which at the time allowed users to print any document regardless of its complexity. “ Initially I thought this was a very confusing statement”, Jo Heylen explains when reminiscing over the encounter that started everything. “ Allow users? Printing isn’t all that complex and technical is it? At least that was what I thought until I got to know the print process. Turns out I had no idea how intricate it really is.”

Streamlined Workflow

“At the time, the moment that truly opened my eyes, and that led to us developing our disruptive solution, was when we received a commission to print a large retail catalog. It might sound a little disrespectful but: Dozens of pdf’s were sent from one inbox to the next in order to check and review, pdf’s that were printed out and then corrected with markers, just to be scanned in again and sent around for another arduous review cycle… In short, there was a complete lack of oversight, and nobody had any idea how far along the catalog creation process was. After this experience, Jos and I put our heads together and I asked him if we couldn’t come up with a way which would allow clients to work on InDesign documents directly, online and at the same time. Even if the clients had no previous experience with Adobe InDesign. If this was possible then we’d be able to streamline the creation process significantly, while granting all parties involved superior oversight of the situation.”

“That idea ultimately led to the creation of our online platform in 2007, which coincidentially made us one of the first online platforms in Belgium. The corresponding advantages were plenty: clients who used it to tackle their projects were guaranteed to be more efficient, it was for all users what their exact task in the project was, and clients had a streamlined workflow. On top of this, they had access to our platform via a regular webbrowser, foregoing the need for expensive InDesign-licenses. That our solution was truly innovative became clear in 2009 when we received international praise from Adobe.”

“That our solution was truly innovative was emphasized when we received international recognition from Adobe in 2009.”

— Jo Heylen, Head of Marketing & Sales

Forget adjusting points and comma’s

“ The core function of the platform is that it allows everyone to do their job in the creation process, without having to consider technical or complex issues. We remove these barriers completely.” says Thibaut Santermans, marketingmanager and content creator at 2imagine. “ In other words, we want to engage as many people as possible, even those with little to no InDesign experience, in the process directly.”

“ First of, because all of this happens online it allows clients to completely decentralise their way of working- which is likely to be a big boon considering the current crisis. Second, this way of working is guaranteed to improve brand consistency and grant management clear oversight of the situation/project. In other words, our solution allows businesses or marketers to retain complete control during every step of the process.”

“We want to engage as many people, even those without any knowledge of InDesign, in the creation process directly “

— Jo Heylen, Head of Marketing & Sales

“This way we help our clients avoid having to enlist external and often times expensive design agencies to amend small errors and make small adjustments” Jo Heylen remarks.” Thanks to us, these adjustments can be done in-house, on the fly with little effort. However, as a result some design agencies view us as a threat to their business. To them we say: don’t forget that our solution can also help them by removing their internal bottlenecks. Because if you think about it, it is they that have to make these menial and time-consuming adjustments time and time again. Time which i’m sure they’d much rather spend working on larger and challenging assignments. I mean, the large majority of the time these tweaks they are asked to make have nothing to do with design, they literally have to check documents for points and commas. Mentally draining work to say the least (laughs).”

Thibaut Santermans: marketing manager
-Thibaut Santermans, Marketingmanager & Content creator

Disruptive with Product Information Management (PIM)

COVID-19 forces businesses and their various stakeholders to collaborate together online. It’s safe to call this a global phenomenon, which probably won’t reverse. “2imagine really is ahead of the pack in this aspect, as this is the core feature/strength of our platform: enabling retailers to create promofolders and POS material quickly, using the combined strengths and knowledge of their buyers & marketers”, Jo Heylen explains. “ Another important aspect of our success is automation. It isn’t satisfactory for people to be able to work together: an even bigger win is letting the various data silo’s work together. In our eyes this is clearly the biggest strength and disruptive power of the 2imagine platform: the promobrochure is (automatically) assembled with all productinfo from a businesses existing PIM-/CMS- systems. For example, when a price is altered in a clients PIM system, not only their website but their promofolders and POS-material is updated. Just think about the time/money saved…”

From the 2imagine solution and the demand from stores and retailers for convincing POS-material and other offline products it can be said that print still isn’t dead. “Absolutely” Heylen confirms, “ but it was a close call. There was a time when it didn’t look good. We believe there are two key reasons for this: first off, the effectiveness of print (in comparison to digital campaigns) is difficult to quantify: you don’t get likes and clicks on print. Second, print is one of the oldest marketing channels, which is why the sector oftentimes works with old and needlessly technical processes. Then all of a sudden the digital, flexible and efficient train crashed the market, which in turn prompted everyone to pronounce print dead. But under this immense pressure print has made enormous strides.”

“On top of this, the major advantage of print remains: it’s tactile. It can go into people’s mailboxes, they pick it up, read through it and place it on their kitchen table. No other medium has the capability of making such a lasting impression on people. But to be perfectly clear: modern branding, communication and marketing have to be a mix of offline and online.”

Looking for ways to increase work efficiency? Feel free to contact our experts to see if we can be of value to your organisation in terms of workflow-optimization, templating, automation, integration or time efficiency.

Similar Posts