XMPie Implementation Integrated with MultiChannel Publishing Solution at Comcast

DPCI integrates Digital Flywheel with XMPie PersonalEffect Server to add mass customization and variable data print capabilities to the multi-channel publishing platform at Comcast Corporation.

Comcast Corporation is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal.

Comcast’s marketing personnel utilize a marketing Web portal, called the ComcastStore, to create, customize and fulfill promotional pieces and direct mail collateral. In 2006, DPCI added Online Publishing Services (OPS) to the ComcastStore, by integrating it with DPCI’s Digital Flywheel Web-to-Print technology and Adobe InDesign Server. Marketing personnel throughout the country have been using these self-service multi-channel publishing tools to customize versions of collateral, known as tactics, for specific sales territories. For each marketing tactic, they select a pre-approved InDesign template, enter customization data, such as phone number, URL, and offer price and the system quickly creates an online proof for review before the order is submitted for fulfillment.

This process works well for dynamically creating documents with a single set of customizations; however for larger campaigns with hundreds of document versions and various sets of data, having marketing personnel review an online proof for each individual version is time consuming. Even more, providing print vendors with hundreds of PDF proof versions for fulfillment is both time consuming and costly.

Marketing Communications management at Comcast sought a way to further expand the ComcastStore’s Online Publishing Services to also streamline customization, review and fulfillment of these larger campaigns. Based on DPCI’s recommendation, Comcast hired DPCI to implement XMPie PersonalEffect server, a variable data printing solution ideal for organizations that need to produce high volumes of one-to-one print materials.

DPCI integrated XMPie PersonalEffect server with Digital Flywheel to add mass customization and variable data print capabilities to OPS. For campaigns that require multiple versions of a single component, the ComcastStore provides an interface for marketing personnel to select a tactic and upload a Microsoft Excel file containing the set of regional customizations. Digital Flywheel acts as the data trafficking and order agent, converting all data into an XMPie friendly format and sending that data, along with an identifier for the corresponding InDesign template, to XMPie’s PersonalEffect server for document creation. The order details and a single PDF proof, containing all customization records, is then sent back through Digital Flywheel to the ComcastStore.

Next, marketing personnel review and approve the proof, and then through the same interface, they enter a bill code and select a pre-approved print vendor. Once the order request is submitted, the selected Comcast print vendor is notified that a new order is ready for pickup and fulfillment. The vendor receives an order link to the ComcastStore where they can download all of the original creative files, the approved proof and a preferred variable data output format such as PPML, VPS, VIPP, VDX, or PDF files. These optimized output files are designed to work with digital printing presses so that static graphics and text and are only processed, or ripped, once regardless of the number of custom/variable pages included in the order.

These new features of the Online Publishing System transformed the ComcastStore into a Web portal that can now handle both small and large volume customizations of print marketing tactics while significantly reducing production time and costs. The self-service tools provide Comcast marketing personnel across the country with a single interface to tailor marketing tactics for hundreds of customers while at the same time producing variable data optimized output.

"DPCI’s subject matter expertise helped us to design a scalable publishing solution to meet our ever-changing direct marketing and customer communication needs,” explained Sean McKenzie, Senior Director, Marketing Business Applications & Brand Asset Management at Comcast. “With XMPie’s variable data print capabilities integrated with DPCI's Digital Flywheel, we are not only saving money in the print fulfillment of high-volume, customized print materials but our marketing representatives now have the self-service tools to create these mass orders quickly."