McIlroy–Print Production Managers Must Become Content Managers

Many doubted the prospects for the Internet and the Web, and the speed with which it would impact today’s communications mix. But the explosion in e-commerce has changed the publishing value equation. With print collateral, you could sometimes ask for the order. On the Web, you can not only ask for the order, but take the order and the payment, calculate shipping, determine a delivery schedule and provide customer service after the fact. When it comes to marketing communications, print is fast proving to be the Web’s weak sister.

Too many print managers are eschewing the responsibilities associated with the Internet and the World Wide Web, abandoning the task to MIS departments and to senior marketing staff. This is where the peril lies. It’s our belief that if creative services and print production managers fail to seize responsibility for new media, they will find themselves marginalized in the communications hierarchy, particularly as their skills are devalued by automation.

The most important challenge for content managers is gaining control of their organizations’ digital assets—electronic files containing text, images and more, developed for communication campaigns and publishing projects.

We’ve been hearing a lot about asset management. Everyone seems to agree that controlling digital media assets is a good thing, at the same time that they’re challenged to explain exactly why. On the one hand, there’s the direct cost and replacement cost of these assets. Too often customers order new designs and photo shoots when existing images would have done the job. Then there’s the often-fruitless time spent searching on SyQuests, ZIPs and opticals for images. Add to that the countless times they fail to use effective or appropriate graphics because it was too hard to find them, and there wasn’t enough time or budget available to create new ones.

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