Boyle - Nine Costly Mistakes (645 words)
Catalog creative and offers are not synchronized with your Web site. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than trying to order online, only to find the product or incentive found in the printed catalog is not present on the cataloger's Web site.
Solution: Include in your workflow and schedule a method for all creative (products and copy) and offers to be organized and presented to your Internet team with enough time to produce the job accurately and to synchronize with your selling channels. Investigate available software or talk with your color separator for processes that allow you to manage content in a streamlined fashion.
You missed a key date.When this happens, it's usually the pre-press house or printer that has to make up the time. Squeezing schedules will cost you overtime dollars, low morale, poor vendor partnerships and worse, a possible missed print window or mail date.
Solution: Involve everyone when creating the original schedule, then place one person in charge of managing the overall schedule. Hold people accountable for their individual deadlines. If someone cannot make a deadline, encourage him or her to let the designated scheduler know early, so other scheduling arrangements can be made. Remember, one schedule will not fit all catalogs. Depending upon the change in pages, number of new products and employees' vacation plans, your schedules could have as much as a three- to four-week swing.
Mail files were not properly prepared. At this point in the workflow, you're often looking at outside vendors who absolutely will charge you extra for bad files. Or worse, a critical task doesn't happen at all (e.g., NCOA or de-duping). Many times a merge/purge isn't properly outlined and is executed poorly. This translates into extra cost and diminished response.
Solution: Decide who is in charge of what, and appoint one person as the keeper of those directions. There can be as many as four companies involved in the mailing process (your company, list broker, data house and printer); assignments and responsibilities must be stated up front. Instructions need to be clearly prepared, in writing and given to all parties. Especially when you change key vendors, never assume they understand their roles completely.