Advertisers are not art directors, and vice versa. Clients will send in images that are too big or too small, text that’s too long or too short, copy that’s full of typos or paired with the wrong picture. On top of the normal process of receiving, uploading, formatting, checking, laying out, preflighting and approving ads, it all adds up to delays—and sometimes, costly make-goods.
Specialty Food Magazine, a publication of the Specialty Food Association, knew these challenges only too well. The magazine needed a solution that would simplify a manual submission and assembly process for marketplace ads.
“Our sales coordinator would copy the product images to our server and our art director would review for any potential resolution or reproduction concerns. Clients were contacted if their submitted images were considered too low a resolution for print, and replacement shots were re-posted to our FTP site,” says Phyllis Jefferson, production director at Specialty Food Media. “The sales coordinator married up the image for a given ad with the copy submitted and our art director created these ads, one at a time, in the InDesign page layout.”
Multiply this process by, in some cases, 200 to 350 formatted ads per edition, and the scope of the problem becomes clear. For Specialty Food Magazine, the answer to all these challenges was SendMyAd’s AdCreator. A cloud-based portal for creating and submitting template-based advertisements, AdCreator allowed Specialty Food Magazine to completely overhaul a drawn-out, error-prone system. The result? Few corrections or resubmissions—and no more make-goods.
“Advertisers generate each ad through AdCreator by taking ownership of each step – entering text, uploading their product shot, editing, giving a final review and ultimate submission,” Jefferson notes. “Everything happens as a single step on the front end and we are notified when each ad is submitted to the portal.”
“By creating and submitting their ads through AdCreator, advertisers control their product message within the confines of our formatted ad templates and instantly see the finished advertisement–weeks before publication,” she continues. “They can edit text and replace images as needed prior to submission and even create a replacement ad if desired before our issue close date. There is less anxiety now that they control the process.”
Specialty Food Magazine used to allocate more than a week in the production process for staff to manually receive, create and correct formatted ads. The creation process is now completed in the course of two to three days, with nearly all the work done by the advertisers themselves, working in the cloud-based SendMyAd portal. The publisher generally only has to make sure all ads have been submitted and do a final check of finished materials.
“Our staff has been able to focus on other aspects of the magazine production process rather than ad creation itself,” Jefferson says. “Also, the odds of a staff mistake during construction of an ad causing a make-good has been essentially cut down to zero.”
AdCreator was easy to adopt and presented little difficulty for advertisers, Jefferson reports. Clients were given a simple step-by-step process to follow, with one-on-one support available if needed. “Most clients were fine with the written instructions and were able to create their ads seamlessly within an issue or two,” she says.
Compliance now stands at nearly 100 percent, adding up to hundreds of hours and many thousands of dollars in staff labor costs saved—freeing up more time and resources for great content, new client acquisition and growing the bottom line.