Roy Leamon describes his publication as a “particularly large regional magazine,” which, given that the region is Texas, and the magazine, Texas Monthly, attracts national sponsorship and attention, almost qualifies as an understatement—something you don’t hear too often in the Lone Star State.
“Still, Texas Monthly faces challenges that, say, large consumer magazines probably don’t.” The magazine may be known for award-winning journalism and beautiful photography, but its base of advertisers runs the gamut from New York ad agency clients to small-town mom and pop stores, some of whom have advertised with the magazine for years. Leamon, vice president of production and technology, must balance the needs of this range of current clients while positioning the magazine for the future.
Key to this effort was the implementation of the SendMyAd ad portal, which allows advertisers to upload an ad directly to the cloud based solution. Ads are automatically preflighted providing immediate feedback on the condition of the ad. Many problems can be fixed in the portal with tools like the trim tool to reposition and eliminate unwanted borders and slug information. All of this makes for quick, hassle-free corrections and approval.
“It’s important the portal allows anybody with any level of technological sophistication to be able to use it, and for the most part it appears the advertisers who use it really like it,” Leamon says.
The magazine is open ended about how it accepts ads, Leamon says, allowing long-time clients who prefer other submission channels to keep using them while encouraging advertisers to switch to the portal. The magazine has seen a steady increase in the number of advertisers using SendMyAd.
“We receiveads from a variety of sources, both e-mail and ftp sites, and we have an upload page on our website, but none of those provides any kind of front-end flight checking for problems in the ad file itself or for size correction,” Leamon says. “Before offering SendMyAd, we probably had at least 30 to 40 percent of the ads we get every month would require us to fix something in the ad or to contact that advertiser or the agency or the designer in order to get an ad corrected.”
As every publisher knows, this can take time—usually a day or two to get problems ironed out, and sometimes longer. “It’s remarkable how often designers leave town when you need to make a revision on an ad,” Leamon says.
This is why SendMyAd has proven to be a tremendous time saver. “Any kind of reduction of workload during deadline week is significant,” he says. “It helps reduce the number of ads that either would have problems or simply have to be trafficked, and sometimes, especially in heavy months, that can make a big difference in how your deadline goes.”
Advertisers, he says, “appreciate the ease of use of the portal and have understood that it is ultimately going to be helpful to them, because it assures them ahead of time they are in good shape with their ad.”
It also dovetails well with Texas Monthly’s plans for future growth. Leamon says his decision to use SendMyAd was reinforced by the application’s support for Web and mobile ads, as well as the ability to create templated (or formatted) ads through the cloud-based tool, Ad Creator. He expects both capabilities to play a role as the publication adopts new production efficiencies and monetization strategies.
“Ad Creator will offer the ability for an advertiser to upload some copy, a logo and a photo into a layout, the system builds the ad, and then supplies us a final pdf rather than our having to build those formatted ads by hand,” he says. “We see this as one of the ways SendMyAd can grow with us.”
Near term, Leamon says, SendMyAd has allowed Texas Monthly to be more productive with a small staff. “And we’d like to explore more of the options SendMyAd offers down the road,” he notes, “especially as magazine production staffs have to be increasingly productive on a per-person basis, because hiring more staff is not an option.”
“We think we do a good job and our readers seem to think so too,” he adds. “We are constantly looking for anything that will help us be more efficient and produce the same high quality magazine that we have been producing all these years, so SendMyAd was something that really seemed compelling to us as a mechanism by which advertisers could take a little bit more responsibility for making sure their ads were OK, and getting them correct before they sent them to us. And it certainly has proven to be that.”