Catalog Doctor: Stop Wasting Resources
PATIENT: Doc, times are tough and my resources are scarce. How can I be sure I’m using mine well? How can I avoid wasting time, manpower and money?
CATALOG DOCTOR: Focus your team on core efforts, and avoid low-impact tasks that might run your projects off the rails. Start by asking these seven waste-avoiding questions:
Q1: Will it execute?
Your marketing team has a killer three-tier offer. Design and copy are fantastic; deadlines are doable. Everything’s great. Now it’s time to get that offer on your Web site.
Oops, turns out the site won’t allow a three-tier offer. It can’t be programmed in. So you have to trash the concept, trash the creative and quickly develop a new offer that works with your current systems.
What a waste. Your team needs to check all marketing ideas down the line to make sure they’ll work from more than just a marketing standpoint. Will it print? Will it mail? Will it be caught by too many spam filters? Can your call center talk it through? Will it work with your order management system?
No matter how great conceptually, any marketing idea must be executable at every level or it’s just a waste of time.
Q2: Have you prioritized your projects?
Let’s say you’re lucky and have a team of innovators. They’ve built plans for a Web site upgrade, spin-off catalog title, five-panel e-mail test program, and a digitally printed, selectively targeted wrap cover and VIP gift card program to launch in three channels.
Wow, your team is supercharged. But it’s also stretched thin. Soon balls start dropping: The schedule slips on the regular catalog, a mailing is late, the new products aren’t on the Web site yet and three e-mail offers are blasted without key codes.
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or email@example.com.