What is chain reaction publishing?

By Steve Hunt

20th September 2016

What is chain reaction publishing?

With over 17 years experience in marketing communications I have seen the issues companies have when managing large amounts of product data. All companies have bottlenecks, and all are guilty of duplicating data entry on a massive scale.

Businesses today have multiple marketing channels that require different disciplines for production. Supplying the data to all these channels is the single largest problem that companies face, the question they all ask is, how can I centralise my product data to serve all these channels?


A company that has thousands of products would have a marketing department that is busy putting together marketing material for all their products and services, they would have a team of people updating their website, brochures, data sheets and sales documents each and every day.

Once a piece of marketing has been developed it would be sent to the product manager to check the information is correct, depending how on busy the product manager is, this would come back to marketing with changes, then repeated until it was correct, and sometimes the same process is going on for all the different channels, at the same time. Product managers are asked the same questions over and over again, an inefficient use of everyone’s valuable time.

The sales department are also knocking on the marketing departments door every day, asking for other communication material to help them sell more products. Sales teams always need everything yesterday, if a prospective customer asks them for something, they need to react fast, this normally means putting pressure back on the marketing team. All these demands stop most marketing departments from doing the job they should be doing, marketing.

When you add multiple countries requirements, reseller partners and wholesalers, this becomes a monster operation that can cause major bottlenecks and hold ups when going to market with new products.

Looking at these simple activities I find hours, and days being wasted by all departments, the cost of this is never highlighted as it is just seen as part of the job, if companies were to track this inefficient use of time it would make them change the way they work instantly.

The beating heart

All companies have some sort of product database, this could be from a simple spreadsheet to a full SAP or bespoke CMS system. Most of the time these systems have been developed over a long period of time, they also have many functions from stock control, purchasing, estimating, invoicing, etc. If a new product is added or changed it is made in the central system, and most of the time it is not done by a product or marketing manager.

A new product is added with very basic information, this information is required for internal use, the more detailed information used by sales and marketing is rarely added into these systems. The other downside to these systems is that they rarely do anything but internal jobs, they do not link to other systems and services outside their own ecosystem.

To get information out it has to be extracted manually in a format that the marketing department can use, normally this is a cut and paste job into the separate marketing channel workflows. At this point all further product information is gathered and stored by the marketing department, and not always shared with other departments or countries. This is when the mass duplication of information begins and wasting of time and money starts.


To input data once is the most efficient way of working, with advances in technology, systems can now communicate with each other, helping to build complex ecosystems without having to start from scratch or replace legacy systems that do one job very well.

Systems can now take a feed from a database such as SAP and bespoke CMS products, and pull the information into a marketing ecosystem, allowing more information to be added for the different marketing channels.

No brochure will ever be the same again

With chain reaction publishing systems like Libris, live data can connect directly to sales and marketing teams, this advancement allows every sales document to be bespoke and personal to the recipient. No longer do companies need to print hundreds or thousands of brochures or sales documents, no longer do marketing departments need to check everything that leaves their department, it locks the brand and keeps the data safe from being changed by unqualified personnel.

Now sales teams can click a button from their CRM system that populates a personalised designed document, choose the products and services that their client are interested in, and generate a bespoke customised, up-to-date PDF just for that client. They also have the option to email or send direct to digital print and have a one off copy sent to the client in the post. All this without asking the marketing department for anything, all done on the road using a mobile device, all trackable through the system and CRM. The sales and marketing teams now have confidence in knowing that everything that is sent out is on brand and up-to-date to the second.

Chain reaction publishing

Now all the systems are linked we have a clear straight road to all marketing channels. We can update websites with one click, data sheets are created automatically and distributed to different departments instantly, both online and print. Product catalogues and price lists are created automatically, for online and print, saving hundreds of hours. Bespoke brochures and sales proposals can be generated in seconds, in any language at anytime from anywhere. New offices can be opened and plugged into the marketing ecosystem, partners around the world have access to their own virtual marketing department 24/7, having everything they need to win more business and grow the company. Chain reaction publishing has just begun, watch this space.


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