Now It"s Time for Innovative Marketing Ideas
Festool, headquartered in Wendlingen am Neckar, manufactures electronic power and air tools and their credo is developing tools that meet the highest demands. To regularly provide country-specific product line publications to their international market, which encompasses more than 47 countries, the Marketing Department relies on the automation and creativity provided by the InBetween PublicationBuilder.
Festool enjoys an excellent reputation amongst craftsmen, both at home and abroad. A broad product range of special tools for carpenters, timber engineers, painters, car painters and products used in renovating, leaves practically nothing left to desire. Whereas proven tools have constituted an integral part of the product line for many years, Festool also focuses on development. Novelties truly are novelties in the industry.
A recent survey carried out by Festool"s Marketing Department in the German-speaking region brought it to light: The product catalogue is and remains the primary information medium for retailers and end customers. Following this more than explicit vote, the question as to whether the printed catalogue would continue to play a central role in market communication in the future, had been answered. The only remaining question was "how to go about it?"
Professional tools also strive towards a prominent place in the media. To strengthen the Festool brand, all tools for craftsmen are compiled in a catalogue exceeding more than 400 pages. Large-scale product presentations are alternated with detailed images, technical information and examples of use. Suitable system accessories supplement the core product pages. Additionally, approximately 200 pages comprise the painter product line and are targeted to this occupational group. Apart from all typical merchandise and devices, selected renovation projects from various maintenance groups are presented – a reference to the Festool tools used in the projects is always supplied. The portfolio is rounded off with a likewise separately created product catalogue for the automotive industry, featuring highly professional solutions specially designed for auto body painting shops.
Based on the positive experience gained by generating a price list, which thanks to InBetween, has been automatically produced since 2006, as of 2011, the high-quality product catalogues for the three central business domains/divisions were to at least be generated for the greater part from the database at the push of a button. An essential requirement: It should still be possible to specifically select products for individual pages, since each Product Manager is responsible for different core competencies such as "surface processing," "milling and drilling," "suction," etc. Therefore, high automation was not the answer, but rather a tool which on the one hand enabled cooperating across departments and permitting as much creative design as necessary; and simultaneously as much automation as possible. The entirely web-based InBetween PublicationBuilder, with its practical combination of defined fields, template specifications for different product presentations, as well as completely neutral free fields corresponded the best to the planned mode of operation. The InBetween PublicationBuilder was considerably influenced by Festool's ideas during the further development process to InBetween's standard module. Festool's catalogue team is provided with a variety of page designs via the Web browser, for which they can select products and images from their own product group, thanks to being coupled to the underlying PIM system. The catalogue thus retains its unique character, but is compiled many times faster than would be the case when manually designed. Since the mode of operation is very intuitive, no staff training was necessary.
Festool not only distributes their professional tools in the German-speaking region, but also has an export quota of 76 %. The company is present in a total of 47 countries, of which they have their own subsidiaries in 18 of them. Corresponding language variants of the publications are therefore indispensable, and were the next great challenge for the marketing responsible. Via the "Update Language" function, the German catalogues can now be quickly generated in all the important languages of the key markets. In the meantime, Festool is able to provide 29 versions featuring country-specific publications in 19 languages, rather than the original four countries. The company now has a much stronger country presence, and can now actually access markets which would have been extremely difficult to accomplish without the respective language versions.
In addition to the highly automated price lists and semi-automated product catalogues, Festool also uses the InBetween Dynamic Publishing software to create other multi-language documents: data sheets, labels and the so-called product pass – a type of product data sheet containing all relevant technical information, a product image and the corresponding barcode and merchandise head card. As the degree of automation is already 85 – 95%, Festool no longer requires agency services for finishing.
Whereas on the one hand update cycles for print materials are shorter, quality demands increase. At the same time, however, print costs are reduced due to target group-specific communication and the connected lower number of editions. Print costs thus play a subordinate role. Furthermore, due to homogeneous product lines on the markets, Festool can make full use of the potential of a black imprint film when printing. When taking the ROI into consideration in relation to the investment in an integrated PIM and database publishing solution, the greatly reduced manual effort carries the most weight. The investment has already paid off by this alone. The extra time can now be put to much better use for the truly relevant subjects, such as compiling high-quality contents.
Establishing an integrated process chain has a further positive effect: The master data quality has been considerably improved, and that in turn results in practically all documents generated being error-free.
Specialized and highly professional tools are in demand, both at home and abroad. For Daniel Baumeister and Elke Schepp, both Communication Managers at Festool, the key to success is an integrated and professional solution for data management and outputting in different channels, including printing in all target market languages.
How do you visualize the development of the print medium as part of your media landscape?
Our periodic worldwide customer surveys distinctly indicate one thing: For specialized dealers and end customers – and they are essentially our communicative target group – print catalogues are still the most important means of sales. Therefore, alongside online portals, Web specials and videos, we will continue to place great value in our high-quality product catalogues. Print will never die out.
You place great value in very high-quality catalogues. Do you now have to make compromises in the design due to an automated generation?
Unlike our price lists, we did not automated the product catalogues by 85 - 90%. That is not the objective. We have already achieved such a gain in efficiency just by the semi-automation and the very high degree of automation of further communication materials that we now have time to develop and implement segment-specific ideas. The painter and automotive catalogues are such examples.
Are there any further innovative approaches you would like to put into practice, thanks to the efficiency gained?
We think that communication can definitely be further customized and segment-specific – both in print and online - and that PIM-driven, automated publishing processes will play an important role. The larger a business grows, the more important a sound technological basis for optimum process architecture becomes.
How does the company's export orientation impact your communications?
We distribute our products nearly all over the world. Foreign trade constitutes a considerable proportion of the turnover. In many countries, therefore, catalogues in the national language are an absolute must. If, however, we had to employ an additional person to create the publications in each international subsidiary, we would have immense additional costs. Even so, the results would not equal the current quality. For these reasons alone, we can no longer envisage a life without central PIM-driven automated publishing processes. InBetween has become a fundamental pillar of success for Festool.
Die Festool GmbH:
Festool GmbH develops high-grade electronic and air tools for professional and discerning users in the timber, painting, automotive sectors, as well as for home handymen. The product line ranges from cordless drill drivers to circular saws, pendulum jigsaws, trimming and compound nitre saws, milling tools, planers, sliders and polishers, on up to special extractors. "Quality and innovation" have the highest priority at Festool GmbH. This is mirrored in the 300 patents and more than 80 prizes for their products and company.
Festool GmbH is part of TTS Tooltechnic Systems AG & Co. KG. They are an internationally active company with 2,600 employees, under whose umbrella, the Festool and Tanos brands are available in 26 countries worldwide.