Your Multichannel Contact Strategy Chart
Patient: "Doc, although we've got a good handle on our big-picture strategies, we keep getting off track in our execution. Our channel teams drift from what's said in our meetings; our timing is thrown off; our promos aren't all coordinated among our channels; our customers get hit with messages from all channels at once, then have a gap with no messages at all; and so on. Do you have any prescription to help us get and stay on track?"
Catalog Doctor: Here's medicine that you and everyone on your team can take. A contact strategy chart is easy to digest, good for one or many channels, and has shown effectiveness for team members at all levels. It will help keep your program fit and on track.
Start by Building a Simple Calendar
The first step for retailers who want to build a contact strategy system is to put together a simple chart listing weeks, start/end dates and holidays. Creating this type of chart takes only minimal spreadsheet skills. Even better still, this step proves to be fast and painless — even if you build an entire year of weeks and holidays — and what you end up with will form the basis for your full contact strategy.
Number the weeks one through 52. You'll find week numbers to be handy for reference throughout the year, plus you're ensured to never accidentally miss a week. To save time, only fill in the first week's start and end dates because you can calculate all the other dates simply by adding seven. And before filling in any holidays, save the entire first three columns as "values." (In Excel, use the "Paste Special" command.) Then you can add rows in between weeks without messing up formulas or losing dates.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.