Know Your Objectives Before You Mail
By Phil Minix
Breakthrough success comes from first developing an understanding of what your measures of success will be and then planning all of your efforts toward effecting those measures. For a catalog marketer, merchant, art director or operations manager, this means first understanding your owner's, company's or department's objectives. You can't begin to achieve success if you don't know your overall goals and the goal of each individual mailing.
If you aren't clear what the overall company objectives are, then make sure you press to find out. If these can't be articulated by anyone in the company, then there is some important work to be done. Are you trying to grow top line sales? Increase the size of the housefile? Increase profitability dollars or profitability percentage? A combination of all of them? Each of these objectives requires very different actions from the entire catalog team, and every department in the company can make an impact on the outcome.
Once you are aware of the corporate objectives, you can begin creating plans for how your department can support those objectives. Developing a plan before mailing will give you the tool you need to evaluate the success of that effort against your benchmark. It will also ensure that what you are about to undertake will, indeed, move you in the direction you are striving to go. And most importantly, creating your plans from the overall company objectives will ensure that everyone is acting in concert.
I have worked with clients who put together their catalog circulation plan, merchandise assortment and creative positioning without talking among departments and without a shared understanding of what they are trying to achieve. When they get results after the campaign, marketing might be pleased, yet merchandising might think the mailing was a disaster. This can be avoided by working together and working toward the same objectives.