Boyle - Nine Costly Mistakes (645 words)
By Lois Boyle
Part Two of a Two-part Series on Cutting Costs by Improving Your Work Cycle
In last month's issue, I discussed why it's important to review your catalog's workflow for maximum cost efficiency. This month, I'll outline nine costly workflow problems that, if left unchecked, can cost you dearly, hurt employee morale and produce lackluster results.
The wrong product information was published. No matter what the mistake, it will affect the results and profits. On the back end, you potentially will lose money with an increase in returns or a slow-down in the order-taking process while trying to correct the problem.
Solution: Always create comprehensive product specification sheets and update them in a timely manner. Put someone in charge of proofreading the catalog against these sheets.
The photography doesn't effectively represent the product. As a visual selling tool, a catalog must present photography so your customers understand the benefit and uniqueness of the product "at a glance."
Solution: Product spec sheets must spell out product benefits and features so the art director understands what's important to shoot. Furthermore, the art director must have the product in time, so decisions can be made on how it will be shot and to ensure enough time to procure the appropriate props.
The offer planning was not integrated into creative or production. To effectively market to varied customer segments, successful direct marketers create versions with unique offers. In many cases, there isn't enough time to create noticeable messages that encourage your customers to act—thus, you get poor results.
Solution: Offers should be planned in the beginning and explained to the creative and production teams. With enough time, the creative team can produce effective and noticeable offers. Also, more time allows the team to research cost-effective ways to present multiple versions and prepare clear bindery instructions. As offers and segments change, always update key individuals.