Blog

NextMark Now Enables Private Deals for Direct Ad Buys

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Top-Secret

NextMark today unveiled new features in its Digital Media Planner tool that enable media planners to record and utilize private advertising deals when creating their media plans.

Keeping track of special advertising deals is a challenge for advertising agencies and for their media planning teams. In the past, media planners had to rely on their own memory and files to recall the special deals they’ve made with publishers. And it was difficult to know if others at your agency had already established a deal with a given publisher. With these issues combined with time pressure and the high turnover in those positions, special deals deals are often overlooked and negotiating leverage is lost. Ultimately, advertisers’ working media dollars are wasted every time a deal is missed.

NextMark Planner solves this problem by enabling you to enter your private deals directly onto the publisher’s data card adjacent to their standard placements and prices. With Planner, you can now set your own prices and create your own custom placements. You can see if others at your agency already have a special deal in place. Your special deals are stored securely and only available to authorized planners at your agency.

These special deals come in handy when you’re creating your media plans. Planner automatically displays all your agency’s custom placements and automatically defaults to your special rates. You’ll never again be embarrassed by missing out on a deal.

Along with the previously released private marketplace features, these new features give you a powerful tool to create and maintain your own directory of preferred vendors, contacts, and deals.

You can request your free trial of Planner here: http://www.nextmark.com/planner.

NextMark Now Enables Private Marketplaces for Direct Ad Buys

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

private-marketplace

The latest release (version 2.2) of NextMark’s Digital Media Planner enables you to create your own private marketplaces of digital advertising programs. With tens of thousands of choices available, it’s a living nightmare to navigate to your ideal media plan. With NextMark’s Planner, you and your colleagues can now “endorse” preferred media programs and make them part of your private marketplace. Once endorsed, those programs get special priority in media plan formulation.

NextMark’s private marketplace is an antidote for the infamous clutter of the Display Lumascape. Now, media planning teams at advertising agencies can easily create and share a preferred vendor list.Instead of sifting through thousands of unqualified options, only those that are approved by your agency rise to the top of the heap.

For publishers, earning an agency endorsement gives you a huge advantage in winning the next media plan. Your work in building the relationship will be recognized in a concrete endorsement. And your endorsement will pay off every day by earning top placement in searches and recommendations.

NextMark is the first media planning tool to enable the creation of private marketplaces. It was created in response to frustrations expressed by both media planners and ad sales teams. This new feature is available immediately and free trials are available at www.NextMark.com/planner.

RFP and proposal management just got easier with Planner 2.0

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Proposal-Manager-Screen-Shot

NextMark today announced an upgrade to its digital media planning software, which adds key functionality for handling RFPs and media proposals.

The Request for Proposal or RFP process in digital advertising is well-known to be a frustrating mess. Despite recently celebrating the eighteenth anniversary of the banner ad, sending RFP requests and handling proposal responses is still a highly manual effort involving emails, Excel spreadsheets, shared file folders, phone calls, sticky notes, and plenty of manual labor. Despite its many failings and costing agencies more than $3,000 per campaign in labor, nobody has yet developed a widely adopted alternative to this time consuming and expensive process.

NextMark streamlines the RFP process with the latest upgrade to its Digital Media Planner system. Version 2.0 of Planner extends the platform’s functionality by enabling media planners to directly interact with publishers to request and manage media proposals. Now, instead of using spreadsheets and e-mail to negotiate pricing and placements, Planner’s Proposal Manager module enables you to:

  • Quickly and easily request proposals from any publisher
  • Automatically track the status of all RFP requests
  • Source additional proposals through Media Magnet
  • Receive proposals online with all documents automatically organized
  • Collaboratively review and negotiate proposals online
  • Accept proposals directly into your media plan with a button click

Unlike prior efforts to solve the RFP mess, NextMark has invested heavily into the design of the user experience for both buyers and sellers. Unlike other solutions, NextMark employs two modes of sourcing proposals: The typical RFP method and a new patent-pending Request for Consideration (or RFC) method. That latter enables qualified publishers to request consideration for plan-appropriate media, giving planners a wider array of choices when they construct their media plans.

“NextMark has been listening to its customers, and is building the right tools for digital media planning,” said Sean Cotton of True Media, an early Planner pilot user. “Adding RFP functionality to the planning tool really extends the functionality, and puts more of the workflow in a centralized place. Agencies have to start leveraging web-based tools to get smarter and more efficient about the way they plan and buy media—and get their planners to focus on more high value tasks that drive their clients’ success.”

Since its initial release only four months ago, Planner has already been upgraded four times based on new ideas from customers.

“This upgrade is another giant leap forward in delivering on the promise of programmatic direct buying,” remarked Joe Pych, NextMark’s President. “We’ve been getting fantastic advice from our development partner agencies, listening closely, and working diligently to realize this amazing vision. As a company, connecting media buyers and sellers is what we have been doing for 13 years, and I am glad we are starting to bring that same efficiency to digital.”

Planner 2.0 is available today. Free training is available to all registered users. To request more information or access to Planner, go to http://www.NextMark.com/planner.

Collaborate without fear with NextMark’s Digital Media Planner

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

nextmark-v1-3-versioning

NextMark today unveiled advanced collaboration features in its Digital Media Planner system. With this upgrade, digital media planners can collaboratively develop digital media plans without fear of losing their work, which is common using today’s solutions.

More than 80% of digital media agencies still use Microsoft Excel to produce their digital media plans. While flexible and easy to use, Excel has a long list of weaknesses that contribute to the high cost to create and execute a digital media plan. Some of Excel’s biggest weaknesses are it’s lack of support for collaboration and version control, which causes lost productivity.

Excel spreadsheets are stored in a file format. As such, only the latest actively saved version is available.  If you forget to save your changes or your machine crashes, your work is lost.  If you and a co-worker unknowingly work on the same Excel media plan at the same time, your work will be lost if he saves his changes after you save yours.  Or you will clobber his work if you save changes work after his. Either way, valuable work is lost. The problem gets worse when you use email to share your Excel media plan because having many files in different places compounds the problem. Good luck trying to merge changes from two or more Excel files; this tedious task takes forever and you’re almost guaranteed to lose some of the work.

Even if you somehow manage to avoid all the file versioning landmines, it’s practically impossible to keep track of all the changes made during the planning process.  When your client asks you “how did this line get into the plan?” you won’t find the answer in Excel.

NextMark’s new Digital Media Planner (v1.3) solves these problems. With Planner, you get the flexibility and usability of a spreadsheet plus a powerful collaboration system. That’s because with Planner your work is always saved securely in cloud database storage with built in collaboration controls:

  1. When you start working on a media plan, you get a lock on the plan so nobody else clobbers your work.
  2. If your co-worker tries to work on same plan at the same time, he sees a warning that you are working on it and is prevented from making changes until you are done.
  3. Your changes are saved immediately as you make them. You don’t even have to hit a save button! (If you’ve ever used Google Docs, you know how handy this can be.)
  4. You can see a complete history of changes to the media plan: when the changes were made and who made each change.
  5. You can easily compare two versions of your media plan and see all the changes highlighted.
  6. If you make a mistake on your plan, it’s easy to revert back to a prior version.

Basically, you’ll never ever again have to deal with a bunch of out-of-synch versions of your media plan. And you’ll never lose your work again.

If you work for an agency that deals with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance or just wants better management controls, the built-in audit trail and comparison features are a godsend.

And, despite all the power of these advanced features, Planner is super easy to use. Even easier than Excel!

Don’t you think it’s time to finally ditch Excel? Want to learn more about how NextMark’s Planner can help you? Request your free access here.

Budgeting just got easier with NextMark Planner v1.2

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

NextMark Planner Budget Overview

Tracking to client budgets can sometimes be a challenge in digital media planning. With the latest release of NextMark’s Digital Media Planner (version 1.2 released Friday, 1/25/13), you now have a handy visualization on your homepage that makes it easier for you to stay on budget on all your campaigns.

Want to get NextMark Planner? Request your free access here.

 

Digital media planning just got even easier

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Planner campaign start

Less than three weeks ago, we introduced the new Digital Media Planner tool. It was built specifically to make digital media media planning easy. Today, we upgraded the software to make it even easier. Now when you create a new campaign, you are greeted with four easy options to get started: import a file, suggestion tool, search tool, or type-ahead. In every case, the system is making your life as a media planner easier.

Want to learn more about the tool? Go to http://www.NextMark.com/planner.

NextMark Release Improves Usability

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

This evening, we will update the NextMark system to version 7.11.  The release is packed with changes aimed at making the system easier to use and more reliable than ever.

The most significant change you’ll see relates to the new Data Card Wizard that not only makes it easier for users to add and edit data cards but also enables a new type of data card format for advertising programs.  The data card format is determined by the Media Type, which is chosen on the first panel of the Wizard (see example below).


As you’ll soon see, it is now easier to navigate to specific section of existing data cards and make changes quickly.

Another new feature that reduces the amount of time you’ll spend updating data cards is batch update of key dates.  Now, from a search results page, the ‘valid as of’ and ‘last update’ dates can be updated and applied to one or more records displayed on the page.

So, log in and check it out and for a complete list of changes in 7.11, refer to the release notes.

NextMark unveils “life changing” technology at DM Days NY 2009

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Nextmark Select revealed at DM Days NY 2009

NextMark this week unveiled the much anticipated NextMark Select service at the DMA's DM Days 2009 conference in New York City. Nora Brophy from Cross Country Computer and NextMark's Chris DeMartine (shown above) co-presented to clients including Belardi/Ostroy, Aggressive List Management, IOMA, Estee Marketing Group, and RMI Direct Marketing. Those attending the demonstration were quite enthusiastic, with one list manager describing the new service as "life changing."

NextMark Select bridges the gap between data cards and data. This two-way connection automates the tedious administration of data cards and paves the way for new analytical applications, such as advanced mailing list profiling, online custom counts, and online ordering.

The "wow" always came at the point of the demonstration when showing how it enhances data cards. Here's a snapshot of a mailing list profile:

NextMark Select enhanced data card

For more information, visit the NextMark Select page on NextMark's website.

The Quest for Better Mailing List Information

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Direct Magazine just published an article by Lee Kroll of Kroll Direct Marketing called "The Quest for Better Data Cards."

Mr. Kroll first speaks of the importance of data cards:

Let's all agree that the datacard is still the most effective sales tool that list owners and managers utilize to promote their mailing lists and direct marketing services to list brokers and mailers.

Mr. Kroll suggests that data cards deserve the attention of senior management and should not be relegated to a junior person in the back room:

The datacard writing and update process should be a "top-down" task, not a "bottom-up" task. It takes "real" industry leaders to demand higher quality datacards to be created and maintained.

He cites problems that result from inaccurate and incomplete data cards:

Surprisingly, there are some list management companies that intentionally leave critical information off their datacards, and believe that if a broker needs additional information that they will call the list manage, so the manager will have an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell the broker. The reality is that today, the broker doesn't have time to play that game and needs vital information at their fingertips without having to make multiple requests for basic information that should already be provided.

It is also very frustrating when a broker reviews a datacard only to find that there are a significant number of excellent selections, offered but no quantities listed. The broker has no idea of whether or not that particular mailing list will ultimately provide enough records for the client's specific parameters or meet the minimum order quantity.

Let me tell you… maintaining an electronic data card database is not easy.

But with 20 years of experience, mIn and NextMark have invented technology and efficient procedures that enable us to produce the most complete and up-to-date database available today. You see the proof in our mailing list search toollist research system, and audited data card database that contains more than 60,000 active listings (and more than 90,000 data cards overall).

As Mr. Kroll observed, data cards and good mailing list information is absolutely critical to making good decisions about circulation plans and to the results of your direct mail program. Experts agree that 40% or more of your success depends on your choice of mailing lists! That's why we've worked so hard to build and maintain this database.

Despite years of continuous innovation, we are still finding new ways to improve. For example, our next software release will connect data cards to data. This technological leap has far-reaching business implications. Not the least of which is making it easier to maintain the counts on a data cards and enriching the data card with in-depth profile information (actual screen shot):

Data-card-profile

This new profile will be available early June along with NextMark Select in NextMark version 7.0. We'll be showing off the new technology at the FastForward and DM Days Conferences (let us know if you want a personal demonstration).

And we certainly won't stop there… our quest to enable you to "Reach Your Market" by delivering you "Customers On-Demand" will keep us busy with new innovations for many years to come.

Rate the DMA on LinkedIn

Friday, April 10th, 2009

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) was founded in 1917, and currently represents more than 3,400 companies in the United States and 48 other nations. NextMark and many of our clients are also DMA members. The organization "advocates for responsible marketing and promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers," as noted on their web site.DMA LinkedIn Poll With 40 percent of a campaign's success dependent on choosing the right lists, it is clear that targeted list research is an important part of the direct marketing process. So how are they doing with the list side of the business?

I decided to conduct a quick poll on LinkedIn to find out what marketing services providers are thinking on the subject.

When I walk the aisles at the DMDays conference each year, I see dozens of list companies lined up with innovative solutions for helping mailers with new customer acquisition; and I know they paid good money to be there. Let's see what they think and how it might be paying off.

Not a member of the NextMark group on LinkedIn? Click here to join.