Why Is An AutoPrice Link Displaying “No Match!” After Being Updated? Part 2

January 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

A “No Match!” condition means the AutoPrice Link (placeholder) has been assigned to a Search Key that does not exist in the database file.  To resolve this, try the following suggestion, Part 2.

Part 2:  Confirm the DDF has correct settings.

To do this, open the “Database Definitions” window by opening the “AutoPrice” menu and selecting “Setup > Database Definitions”.  For the “Current DDF” selection on the “Database Definitions” window, choose the DDF that you were using when you encountered the “No Match!” condition, and then click the “Edit” button.  This will open the “Edit DDF” window where you can confirm the “Search Key Field”, the “Case-Sensitive Search”, “File Origin”, and “Text Qualifier” settings are the correct settings for the database file that you are using to update the placeholders.  Change these settings if they are not set appropriately for the current database file, the click “OK” to close the “Edit DDF” window.  This will return you to the “Database Definitions” window where you are now ready to click the “Select” (or “OK”) button which will close the “Database Definitions” window.

If you changed any DDF settings, to confirm AutoPrice is now able to update the placeholder, update the “No Match!” placeholder (click inside the “No Match!” placeholder and then click the “Update” button on the AutoPrice palette).  If the placeholder is still encountering a “No Match!”, or if you did not change the original settings for the DDF because they appear to be correct, then go to the next troubleshooting step.

Why Is An AutoPrice Link Displaying “No Match!” After Being Updated? Part 1

January 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

A “No Match!” condition means the AutoPrice Link (placeholder) has been assigned to a Search Key that does not exist in the database file.  To resolve this, try the following suggestions:

Step 1:  Confirm that placeholder’s Assigned Search Key is not in the database file.  To do this, click inside the “No Match!” placeholder (the placeholder that encountered the “No Match” condition when it was updated).  Then, open the AutoPrice palette.  If the palette is in “TableTagger” mode, put the palette in “Single Tag” mode by clicking on the “TT” icon in the upper left corner of the palette.  The “Search Key” field on the palette will show you the Search Key that is assigned to that “No Match” placeholder.  Be sure to note the Search Key that is displayed on the palette (or copy the Search Key to your clipboard so you can paste it into a Find window next).  Next, open the database text file and look for that Search Key.  If there is a record that does contain that Search Key, confirm there are no invisible characters (for example, extra spaces) in that field.

If you cannot find an exact match in the database file, then you know that the placeholder has encountered a “No Match!” condition because the placeholder is assigned to a Search Key that does not exist in the database file.  If you can find an exact match in the database file, then go to the next troubleshooting step.

What is AutoPrice and How Does It Work?

January 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

AutoPrice is a suite of XTensions modules for Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress that provide a link between documents and an external data source (text file or ODBC connection). The product works by allowing the user to establish “placeholders” or “tags” inside of an existing document. A tag is essentially tied to a specific database field, and can be assigned to any range of text, text box, or picture box, inside of a document.

Each tag contains at least two pieces of information: a Search Key Value and a Variable Link. The Search Key Value is a unique identifier for each record in the database, typically a item number or product SKU. The Extraction Record is a pointer to a database field (or to an SQL fragment in ODBC mode), that tells AutoPrice which field or piece of information to “extract” from the database and use to populate the placeholder in the document.

When the user initiates a document update, for each tag in the document, AutoPrice queries the data source for a specific piece of information using the Search Key Value as the primary key. The data returned to AutoPrice then replaces the information that previously existed in the placeholder. Styling information is fully retained, and can also be controlled via the use of MPS Tags (our own styling language) in the incoming data stream, or by utilizing the Price Styling features of the AutoPrice product.

For more information, please visit AutoPrice at http://www.meadowsps.com/site/main/autoprice.htm

Bulldog Marketing Technologies is Bullish on DesignMerge!

January 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, Testimonial 

Bulldog Marketing Technologies (BMT) is a data-driven marketing firm based in the Midwest. BMT’s broad client base includes some of the largest automotive dealer groups in the country, as well as over seventy-five car dealerships, and a national restaurant chain with over 150 franchises. Following is a short interview with Mike Staebell, Creative Director for Bulldog Marketing Technologies, discussing how DesignMerge has helped meet their unique challenges with a solution that has resulted in increased profits and expanding business opportunities.

Providing highly personalized communications is BMT’s top priority. Our automotive product line features a wide range of variable print formats including brochures, postcards, self-mailers, and letters. DesignMerge makes it easy to tailor these formats for the intended recipient, resulting in customized vehicle proposals and trade information, personalized quotes, and even service reminders. These highly personalized communications help to familiarize the customer with automotive options before they even visit the dealership; and result in higher retention rates and a faster, more efficient sales process for the dealer.

What business challenges have you faced in the VDP market?

One of the biggest challenges we have faced is maintaining each client’s brand identity in a single print run. Many dealers and auto manufacturers require custom imagery and specific color usage in their marketing materials. DesignMerge allows us to create swatches, logos, and other imagery specific to a given client, and apply them using the DesignMerge rules palette. By avoiding “hard-coded” images and colors in our InDesign templates, we’re able to run a large number of records in a single print run, producing pieces for numerous manufacturers and dealerships while maintaining brand standards for each.

Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

Bulldog Marketing Technologies chose DesignMerge because it gives our creative department the ability to design attractive and effective print pieces that are personalized to each of our clients’ customers. It also allows us to generate print-ready PPML files that can be sent to many different printers nationwide. This saves us turn-around time, postage, and production costs, and gives us an opportunity to shop around for the best pricing in a given region. For in-house print jobs, we’ve found that DesignMerge cut/stack mode allows us to print address panels directly onto the postcards that we produce, saving us time, money and hassle.

What were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

Since we began implementing DesignMerge, we’ve thrown out our postage ink jetter and have enjoyed faster production, lower costs, and most importantly, more effective marketing materials for our clients. We are very pleased with our decision to choose DesignMerge for our variable data printing needs!

DesignMerge Bar Code Keyword Variable Link … ROCKS!

January 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

DesignMerge provides a built-in feature that allows you to create variable PostNet and USPS Intelligent Mail Bar Codes based on data taken from a database file. When used in conjunction with the Meadows Bar Code Module, DesignMerge can also create other popular bar codes, such as Code 128, Code 39, UPC, and Interleaved 2 of 5.

If your database file contains a field with data that is already formatted for a particular type of bar code, then we do not recommend using a Bar Code Keyword Variable Link. Instead, use a normal Text Variable Link to merge this data “as is”, and apply the bar code font that is recommended by the application that produced the bar code data. If the bar code data in your database file is missing any required Start and Stop characters, you may use the Variable Link “Add Prefix” and “Add Suffix” feature to add these characters automatically; be careful to use the appropriate character that your bar code font requires.

If your database file does not contain a field with data that is already formatted for a particular type of bar code, but does contain the data that the bar code is to represent, then you may use the DesignMerge Bar Code Keyword Variable Link feature to convert that data to the appropriate format. To use this feature successfully, all of the data that is to be encoded for the variable bar code must be in a single field in your database file. The length of the data that is provided by the database will determine the length of the variable bar code. Please note that each of the various Bar Code Keyword Variable Links require a specific type of data. If any data is not valid for conversion to a particular bar code format, DesignMerge will display a warning when the invalid data is merged into the Bar Code Keyword Variable Link. For an example of setting up and using a Bar Code Keyword Variable Link, please see Tutorial #2 (the Postcard Tutorial) in your DesignMerge Tutorial Manual, which is available in the DesignMerge product folder on your system.

Speedy Print Milwaukee Gets Moving with DesignMerge!

January 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, Testimonial 

Speedy Print is a commercial digital printer located in Milwaukee, serving the southeast Wisconsin business market since 1972. Their customers include legal professionals, insurance companies, civic organizations, non-profits and general business. Speedy Print offers full design and marketing services as part of an increased interest from their customers who are looking to outsource design and variable data printing. Print quality and customer service is at the heart of their business.

Following is a short interview with Keith Ernst, President, and Amy Messick, Graphics Manager, at Speedy Print Milwaukee, discussing how DesignMerge has helped meet their unique challenges.

What business challenges have you faced in the VDP market?

Our biggest challenge has been educating customers on the benefits of using Variable Data Printing (VDP). Our customers need up-front information on what VDP is, how it works, and what the results might be. In these economic times it can be hard to convince customers of the direct economic benefit that VDP offers them. Once we have been successful in promoting VDP, an additional challenge has been getting our customers to give us properly formatted files.

Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

Our graphic design and variable printing business has increased steadily year after year. DesignMerge variable data software has enabled us to stay ahead of our competition by offering cutting-edge technology and services.

We initially purchased DesignMerge for two particular clients. One is an insurance company that wanted to personalize ID cards for their customers. With DesignMerge, the ease of printing is amazing, and we have printed over 5000 cards without error. The second company is an Internet company wanting Internet access codes that feature barcodes, where the barcode changes with each access code. Last year we printed over 100,000 barcodes, again without a single error.

As a result of our positive experience with the above-mentioned customers, we have developed additional relationships with other clients using VDP solutions. It really has become an essential component of the services we provide to our clients.

What were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

DesignMerge has helped us gain an additional 15-20% in new business, while enabling us to increase the number of jobs that we receive from our established customers, as well. The positive trend in personalized marketing will continue to help Speedy Print grow. In 2010 we expect an excellent return on our DesignMerge investment resulting in continued expansion of our business!