It's a Digital World (2,835 words)
The key to forging a solid partnership lies in knowing how much access and control your departments need over your content. Today's technology allows for the quick transfer of files between companies and outside suppliers via T1 or T3 lines, so your content is never more than a few keystrokes away.
Or, companies that would like to access their PDF images from a remote location can do so via a secured password and Internet connection in conjunction with Cascade's software products.
Right now, the main providers of digital content management programs for direct marketers are printing companies looking ahead to when marketing is more evenly distributed amongst media that aren't paper-based, says Leibly.
While this means you may find some advantages to working with a print vendor for your content solutions (after all, they can help you translate your content into printed products quickly and help reduce your time to market), you also don't want to be in a sticky, political position of not being able to shop around on all your projects when your content is tied up with one vendor—a situation that translates to agencies, service bureaus, etc.
To protect the interests of all parties, draw up a contract that stipulates the services you are paying for and what control you will retain—not to mention what will happen to your business relationship should you take some of your business elsewhere, Rietti advises.
Leibly adds that it makes sense to implement a system that is not proprietary to the vendor with whom you'll be working, otherwise your partnering options are limited from the outset.
The main element of digital content is, of course, the content. A good place to start is with an in-depth review of the communications you currently create and the projects you'd like to take on in the near future.