Where Planning Flows, the Work Will Follow
The catalog workflow process used to be comparatively simple. A cataloger lined up a typographer, photographer, and design production support; got quality output from a film company and finished up with a printer. It was a clean, linear process, albeit labor intensive, but in an era of digital printing, Web-based imaging and an explosion of activity in the customer channel all that has changed. Today’s high-tech, high-speed, highly-customized marketing environment requires vast changes in workflow for catalog development.
There is no longer a magic formula or one-size-fits-all solution. Each catalog has unique needs that demand a singular process. There are some “true norths” in this business, however, and I’ve learned that there are some critical steps for achieving success in this age of cross-media, targeted catalog development.
The Five Immutable Rules for Workflow
Whether you work in print, electronic, or a combination of media, whether you produce one catalog a year or 50, a successful workflow process depends on knowledge, foresight, planning, expertise and collaboration.
The five rules that follow can ensure a great workflow management process for catalogs.
Rule #1: Go Back to Basics
Understanding your objectives and your customers is the first step for any marketing strategy. It’s fundamentally important that you ask yourself the basic questions: Who is the customer? What information do they need? How do they want to receive that information? How do they expect to interact with my company? Is there more than one type of customer? Do they react the same way or do we have to consider different needs (i.e., product, price, place)? What behavior are we trying to motivate: brand reinforcement? Customer loyalty? Purchase?
One other question must be considered at the very start of the process: How often does the information change? The variability or steadiness of the data can significantly impact the type of catalog you produce.