BOSTON, Mar. 4 - General Motors dealers across Canada have the power to create their own direct-to-consumer mail campaigns using an ingenious Web portal provided by CM2 Solutions, one of the country's foremost database marketing firms. The engines converting files for variable data printing are KODAK Web Composition Solution (WCS) and KODAK DARWIN VI Authoring Tool.
The Web portal, titled GM Dealer Direct, allows dealers to create letters, invitations, postcards or other collateral from themes and layout templates supplied on the website, dropping in their own text and images. When the pieces are ready for printing and mailing, the completed layout is combined with the list of chosen recipients in the dealer's database to create personalized communications for each recipient using DARWIN VI Software.
"KODAK Web Composition Solution allows us to implement the user process we want, and integrate Kodak's variable data print features into it. It is a perfect solution for the development environment," said Chris Watson, Managing Director of CM2 Solutions. "The flexibility it provides us is key-it doesn't force us to adopt its way of doing things. GM Dealer Direct has been highly successful, and the KODAK Web Composition Solution is an integral part of that success."
To develop a piece of targeted collateral, dealers log onto the secure Web portal and follow a guided process. "First they define their objectives-perhaps it's a loyalty offer, or a local sale," said Watson. "Then they choose the type of creative product that they want to use, such as a postcard, and customize the creative layout. That's where the KODAK Web Composition Solution tool comes in."
Dealers can choose from more than fifty templates that maintain the General Motors brand standards. Within the templates the elements are variable: for example, dealers may be able to customize the region on a postcard with a headline and a feature photo, some smaller text, and a box for the special offer. The back will have more text, and space for a map and the dealership's logo.
"Using this system, a complete, targeted campaign can be ready to print in very little time," said Watson.
CM2 began by developing a smaller scale version of GM Dealer Direct to test its success rate with dealers. Once it proved its success, CM2 took the program to the national level. "We wanted a solution that could scale, and KODAK Web Composition Solution has the scaleability to run a product with national scope," Watson explained. Today, GM Dealer Direct serves more than 600 GM dealers.
Easy template creation with DARWIN VI Software
Templates for KODAK Web Composition Solution are built with the KODAK DARWIN Software, which integrates seamlessly with the ADOBE suite of graphic design and imaging software, including INDESIGN CS3 and PHOTOSHOP. CM2 made more than 50 templates and upwards of 150 campaign themes for use by dealers. "We couldn't have done that with our previous system-the process of adding layouts was so time consuming and costly," Watson said. "With the wide selection of output formats, dealers are sure to find one that suits their objectives."
Watson feels that KODAK Web Composition Solution and DARWIN Software are key components of the GM Dealer Direct initiative. "With these products, we can provide corporate creative assets in a way that makes it easy for dealers to fulfill their objectives. Before this system became available, dealers were on their own. To do a promotion, they had to pull their customer lists together, and work with their local print vendors or agencies. It could take weeks. This solution is fast, and it simplifies what was a difficult and labor-intensive process for dealers."
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