Juggling the chaotic demands of digital, wholesale, retail and print campaigns all at once can be, at times, a very daunting task. Sale channels individually can have different leaders, budgets, timetables, outcomes and priorities that can make extremely it difficult for a company to project a clear, timely message to their customers.
Absence of clear communication can often be the culprit in mixed messaging or may be the result of companies tiring of the plan before implementation. Both can derail a cohesive message. I have found that the sales channel with the longest timeline can steer the deliverables, assets, and marketing message for the rest of the organization. This forces the rest of the company to scramble to adapt imagery, product shots or copy to fit their own needs often duplicating internal efforts resulting in increased production costs.
To be clear, businesses should respond to the market in real time as trends change and adapt to business marketing their voice through their digital outlets, but the vast majority of a company’s messaging can be calendared out in advance because the line and campaign has been decided as many as 12 month out.
On the surface, it seems so simple to pull together the entire company’s branding, merchandising and sales into one synchronized message, but in reality, it is quite difficult. It takes long term planning and a brand leader or head merchant to champion the plan and see it through from start to finish. The result is better customer service, enhanced sales, lower production costs, increased efficiencies and a stronger overall brand message.
Here are a few suggestions to ensure a successful organization:
Form a multi-media marketing/merchandise committee that meets once month to coordinate messaging. This avoids having the player with the longest schedule dominating the organization. A key task of the committee is to develop an annual plan at least 120 days prior to the end of the year so that everyone is marching to the same drummer.
Organizationally, the CMO should be responsible for leading the committee and all media leaders should report to him (catalog, web, email, social media, etc.). The CMO’s should work in tandem with VP of
Merchandise and job is partially to mandate that everyone follows the plan.
The Creative Director should be the architect of the “look and feel” of the creative across all media ensuring a cohesive approach while partnering with the head of sales to guarantee the organization achieves its budget and revenue plan.