A Grand Collaboration
For the good of your customers and company, staff members in merchandising, marketing and creative must learn to work synergistically.
In my years working with direct marketing clients, I’ve worn all three of these hats. I’ve also directed collaborative efforts from a strategic management position. So I know these three catalog tasks can be done in a collaborative manner — and I know the outcome often is customer delight.
Here’s how you, as a catalog senior manager, can encourage such efforts.
1. First, get everyone in the same room. Doors, walls, cubicles and continual e-mails can unintentionally create silos among your employees. Face-to-face meetings can accelerate learning, resolve issues and encourage empathy.
At the beginning of your catalog production process, bring team members together for a kickoff meeting. Be sure you don’t set a tone of “us vs. them,” but rather one that encourages “all of us for all of our customers.”
2. Assign the teams roles and responsibilities to make the gathering a productive use of each person’s time. Each member of the team has a key role to play in the kickoff meeting.
- Marketing can start by reviewing the basics with the group, such as catalog drop dates, page counts, inserts, promotions and defining what’s different about this mailing vs. last year’s or last season’s.
- Merchants can discuss product news, such as what categories and/or themes they’ll be expanding and contracting and why. They also can touch on what’s new and innovative in the marketplace.
- Your creatives can share their expertise in new copy and layout ideas they’d like to implement with this mailing to create the “wow” factor — that great shopping experience for your customers.
3. Each team should be prepared to discuss sales implications from the last season/mailing. This is a good time to collectively review both top line sales and square inch analysis statistics. They should answer the questions: What are the trends? What are customers telling you by their pocketbook votes?