Multi-Channel Publishing Consulting for Comcast Cable Corporation

Enhanced Marketing Portal Now Delivers Self-Service Tools to Create, Customize, Distribute, and Expedite Delivery of Marketing Materials to the Field

  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image
  • Showcase image

Project highlights:

  • Tactics are customized through a Web browser
  • Eliminates the need to rely on graphic designers to create or update tactics
  • PDF proofs are automatically generated
  • Expedites printing and fulfillment time cycles from weeks to days
  • Ability to move more quickly to market with competitive offers with accurate, localized messaging

Comcast Corporation is the nation’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, with more than 24 million cable customers, 12 million high-speed Internet customers and 3 million voice customers. Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable networks and in the delivery of programming content.

To support its field sales operations, Comcast developed a marketing Web portal, the ComcastStore, to streamline the creation, customization and fulfillment of promotional pieces and direct mail collateral, internally known as “tactics.” Comcast’s corporate marketing department uses the ComcastStore not only to manage all aspects of these marketing tactics, but also to reinforce branding initiatives and message consistency. A combination of internal personnel and external agency resources and vendors produce the tactics processed through the ComcastStore.

Comcast’s growth, including the acquisition of business units from other companies, has led to greater diversity of markets served, as well as an array of business practices among the field offices. In the highly competitive cable market, driven by double-play, triple-play and even quadruple-play service bundles, there is a tremendous need for aggressive marketing campaigns to acquire and retain customers. The ComcastStore facilitates such campaigns and allows Comcast to support its growth initiatives.

While the ComcastStore serves as the central repository to streamline various ordering processes, the production of marketing materials still required manual, time-consuming processes to design, proof, approve and print each tactic. Comcast’s corporate marketing department estimated that 65 to 70% of the tactics produced through the ComcastStore needed to be localized; the company needed to get these tactics out to the field without increasing time and costs. The ComcastStore needed new tools to give local field agents more control over the process without compromising quality, consistency or brand identity.

Comcast commissioned DPCI to audit its existing processes and provide a business case for expanding the features of the ComcastStore by integrating Online Publishing Services (OPS) functionality. The business case helped Comcast’s executive management team identify the value in updating the Web portal with self-service customization and proofing tools and prove the return on investment (ROI) of the expansion.

“Through our collaboration with DPCI, we identified several areas that would allow Comcast field personnel to create and customize their orders, in the office or on the road, without wasting time and money,” said Sean McKenzie, Senior Director, Marketing Business Applications at Comcast.

Taking the ComcastStore to the next level, DPCI expanded the Web portal by adding comprehensive online publishing capabilities, including new, self-service tools designed to simplify the process of creating targeted marketing and advertising tactics.

“Prior to enhancing the Web portal, Comcast recognized the opportunity to empower its users to be more hands-on in the creative process,” said Joseph Bachana, President of DPCI. “We worked in tandem with Comcast to design a multi-channel publishing solution that served as an integrated extension of the newly re-designed ComcastStore, allowing field marketing personnel to easily create, proof and order customized marketing tactics online – anywhere, anytime – without requiring any technical expertise in Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.”

The online publishing solution leverages DPCI’s Digital Flywheel, a Microsoft .NET framework on top of Microsoft SQL Server, Adobe InDesign Server and QuarkXPress Server. The interface incorporates Web 2.0 technologies such as AJAX, creating a user-friendly interface that is similar to a desktop application.

To aid in the reuse of newly generated marketing materials, DPCI and Comcast are working together to integrate the ComcastStore and Digital Flywheel with OpenText’s Artesia digital asset management system, which will store all marketing images, layouts and templates. DPCI built a gateway to enable the integration with Artesia, allowing users to pull an approved template from the central repository for customization, without the need for archiving multiple “localized” versions.

The new Online Publishing System transformed the ComcastStore into a comprehensive self-service Web portal that drives a broad range of Comcast’s marketing tactics. Authorized staff can now access the ComcastStore and its wide array of design, publishing and proofing tools to change template-based tactics, customize text and images, and apply sophisticated formatting rules, all via a Web browser interface. This new functionality eliminates the need to rely on graphic designers to create or update tactics, and more importantly accelerates the time cycles to expedite printing and fulfillment from weeks to days.

The Online Publishing System puts the power in the hands of field marketing personnel to create, edit, and soft proof materials, and significantly reduces delays that were previously caused by incorrect information and relying on multiple resources to complete the design and production processes.

Beyond text changes and soft proofing, the Online Publishing System allows users to merge text and image data, enabling them to create customized pieces using a library of approved templates and materials. By offering the Online Publishing System and other enhancements to its print management program, Comcast expects to reduce versioning and distribution cost by more than 60%. This includes reducing recurring hard costs such as shipping, printing, overnight couriers, and more. In terms of branding, Comcast now has message and logo consistency on all marketing documents, including offers and disclaimers.

Of greatest value, Comcast can move more quickly to market with competitive offers with accurate, localized messaging. The Online Publishing System allows Comcast to proactively manage marketing programs at the local level while maintaining brand and marketing consistency. This reduces the cost of producing new materials while providing the flexibility for field marketing personnel to respond quickly to their respective local market needs.

“DPCI has been a true pleasure to work with. Their willingness to modify their approach and work environment to best fit the culture and needs of our organization has helped ensure the success of this project,” said McKenzie.

The new ComcastStore with the integrated Online Publishing System has improved Comcast’s marketing and brand initiatives and further positioned the company to be compliant with all legal regulations. Through the efforts of DPCI, Comcast’s corporate marketing department and field personnel have an innovative design and collaboration platform. Additionally, the Online Publishing System offers better metrics to measure tactic and campaign effectiveness, increased customization and targeting of marketing messages, and faster time to market.

“From a business perspective, the cost savings of this project was a no-brainer, but what really sold us was how DPCI understood our challenges and designed an innovative publishing platform that extended the functionality of the ComcastStore,” said McKenzie.