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Executive Guide

Ten reasons online proofing helps retail marketers gain greater efficiency and business agility



Here are ten solid reasons you should consider online proofing for your marketing operation. This guide will give you a better understanding of this innovative new technology and why it has gained rapid adoption among retailers. You will also learn some key points to look for when selecting an online proofing system


Reason 1

Faster approval cycles lead to 56% faster time to market.


executive-guide-reason1Time to market is the top priority for most retail marketers. New product launches, seasonal campaigns and regularly scheduled marketing activity all needs to be delivered on time every time. Delays to marketing delivery impact revenue, reputation and create huge frustration for retail marketing teams.


Online proofing helps retailers achieve 56%* faster speed to market for marketing projects. For some retailers, the improvement can be as high as 90%. Online proofing reduces the time of each review cycle, reduces the number of revisions required to secure approval (see below) and makes it easier to organize approval of multiple pieces within a single campaign. As a result, online proofing ensures that campaigns are delivered on schedule.



Reason 2

Online proofing reduces revisions by an average of 29% during review cycles.


executive-guide-reason2With email and hardcopy proofing, team members have no visibility into each other’s comments. This prevents real-time collaboration and generates far more revisions (and their associated costs) than necessary. Constant versioning and change requests dilute proofing accuracy, efficiency and result in slower project delivery.


To remove this bottleneck, an online proofing system keeps comments and feedback centrally organized and visible, resulting in 29%* fewer revisions to manage.



Reason 3

Online proofing reduces management effort by an average of 59%.


executive-guide-reason2Ask your marketing team how much time they spend churning through review cycle after review cycle. With manual proofing, the hours and effort to stay on top of every comment and detail is time that could be better spent on more productive and profitable priorities.


With online proofing, management effort is dramatically reduced because users spend less time chasing reviewers, collating feedback and resolving conflicting feedback. When teams spend less time manually printing copies, posting comments and routing changes, users reduce the effort spent managing proofs by an average of 59%*. Online proofing users see reductions of almost 80% in the effort spent managing complex review processes like catalogs.



Reason 4

Online proofing pays for itself many times over in less than four weeks.


executive-guide-reason4Traditional proofing hits your budget by consuming more staff time than necessary manually managing and reviewing proofs. It also drives higher printing and transportation costs. You pay for manual proofing with slower time to market and loss or delayed revenue.


Online proofing accelerates delivery, saves time and reduces cost, and the research proves it. An independent study of companies using online proofing reported that cost reductions associated with online proofing drive median internal rates of return (IRR) of 4,441%* and a payback period of less than four* weeks.



Reason 5

Online proofing tightens brand management across multi-channel campaigns.


executive-guide-reason5More retailers are embracing multi-channel marketing to create a seamless purchasing experience for customers. Standardizing proofing across different media can be next to impossible. Each media type has required its own proofing tools and workflow, and each is inefficient in its own way. Branding can become diluted or misrepresented when reviewers lack full insight into use of brand guidelines across multiple campaign channels.


With online proofing marketing teams benefit from a consistent platform for feedback, irrespective of media type. Reviewers get better visibility into the total brand impression of multi-channel media. This convenient technology makes it as easy to proof a video as a newspaper ad. Through tighter control over projects, reviewers can synchronize brand identity and messaging across all marketing channels, even those with unique requirements like video and catalogs.



Reason 6

Accurate, complete audit trails of reviews and approvals reduce compliance risk.


executive-guide-reason6Truth-in-advertising guidelines, credit information and other regulations put the burden on retail marketers to verify that all materials include accurate content. Regulatory compliance requires an accurate record of the review and approval process, but proofing by hardcopies and email make it hard to track and archive decision making steps.


An online proofing system documents every step of every review and approval, including date and time of proof creation, comments, replies and decisions. Project managers gain full accountability for every stage of the review, and retailers can meet compliance demands with less effort and greater accuracy. Look for a system that can archive your proofing milestones with date and time stamping to satisfy compliance requirements.



Reason 7

Retail marketers can collaborate more effectively with partners and suppliers.


executive-guide-reason7Many retail enterprises have become part of a a globalized supply chain with partner companies distributed around the world. However, managing review processes with distributed partners is time-consuming, expensive and slow. Traditional hard copy proofing hasn’t kept up with the needs of distributed marketing teams. It ties reviewers to their desks, and limits location of suppliers, while emailed proofs are restricted by attachment size.


Online proofs have no time constraints or geographic restrictions. Review teams can collaborate remotely and even more effectively than with emails and conference calls. Companies can easily and affordably leverage a broader talent base and global resources.



Reason 8

Online proofing helps turn new technologies into effective marketing tools.


executive-guide-reason8According to research firm Gartner, smart phones sales will hit 1.1 billion by 2015, and more than 408 million tablet computers will be sold by 2014. As retailers adopt these exciting tools for more immediate and personalized customer engagement, marketers will need to adapt their proofing methods to accommodate new media formats. How will you proof content delivered via tablet or smart phone? Hardcopy proofs and emailed discussions won’t get the job done.


Online proofing plays to the digital realm, and could be retailers’ only option for effective proofing of these essential marketing channels. Look for an online proofing system that supports a wide range of digital and traditional media.



“Retailers… will need to develop the capabilities and skill sets to manage this new technology and create responsive, coordinated programs to maximize the results.”

Dave Zoerb, Senior Vice President of Marketing
Frank Mayer and Associates




Reason 9

Online proofing supports your company’s “green” initiatives.


executive-guide-reason9Like many industries, retail is under pressure to reduce its carbon footprint and waste. Hard copy proofing consumes enormous quantities of paper, along with the associated printing consumables. When reviews go through multiple cycles, the number of printed proofs increases many times over. Courier services to transport proof copies to all reviewers further increase costs and carbon footprint.


Significant environmental benefits result from adopting an online proofing model. The 100% web-based proofs are visually accurate, but require no paper, ink or courier transport. Online proofing digitizes the entire review and approval process, eliminating energy consumption to create printouts, reducing paper use, and removing the need for courier deliveries. All these improvements contribute to corporate environmental initiatives. Online proofing also encourages remote working, further minimizing fuel consumption associated with transportation.



Reason 10

Online proofing streamlines catalog production.


executive-guide-reason10Catalogs are the foundation of many retail marketing strategies, but any marketer who has created or updated a catalog dreads doing it again. Manage proofing workflow for a single page ad or a new brochure is hard enough. Multiply that by dozens if not hundreds of pages filled with collections of /images, prices, part numbers and descriptions, and you have the “joys” of catalog proofing.


Online proofing offers an entirely different approach to multi-page catalogs. Users don’t have to treat the catalog proof as one massive document, when only a small number of pages actually change. Because each page of the catalog is a separate proof, each can go through any number of revisions independent of other pages. The ability to quickly move among pages, make comments, view changes and otherwise manage the whole assembly at the page level represents an unprecedented improvement over manual catalog proofing.



Independent Study Confirms Results

*Data comes from an independent survey of ProofHQ customers conducted by Intellilink, a consulting firm specializing in marketing process re-engineering. For the full Intellilink study on the business ROI of online proofing, download your free whitepaper “Measuring the business value of online proofing”: www.proofhq.com/roi