Your Multichannel Contact Strategy Chart
Add Holidays and Other Events
Enter all significant holidays in blank lines under the week in which that holiday occurs. You're doing this because you'll find that many of your promotions for catalog, email, web and retail will key off of various holidays. For example, if you're a florist, you'll want to have an email blast planned for the early part of February to promote your Valentine's Day specials. Also, add any internal events you already know about that you might want to leverage via promotional messaging — e.g., new product introductions, planned clearances, a website revamp, opening of a new brick-and-mortar store, etc. OK, now you're done with the purely mechanical part of the spreadsheet and are ready to go on to the marketing function.
Add Marketing: Catalog Flights
Start with your catalog. For most cross-channel retailers, the catalog forms the core of their marketing program. Many other channel promotions link back to retailers' catalog programs. Plus, with postage rates so expensive nowadays, it's smart to grab the best in-home dates for your catalog to maximize return on investment. Add preliminary strategic direction to your in-home dates, from which details can be worked out later by design and offer teams.
A contact strategy chart also proves to be a handy tool when building your catalog circulation plan. On it you can see all the holidays when determining the best weeks/days to mail your catalog, as well as the spacing between catalog drops to help determine frequency. To give users a quick program overview, ensure your chart lists in-home dates, the general creative theme for each catalog and their offers. Your catalog creative team can then use this chart for reference when developing campaigns. They can quickly view the various creative themes, in-home dates, surrounding holidays, offers and audience to leverage all the elements and create pacing from book to book.
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.