There’s no doubt that everybody wants to be successful. But success means different things to different people (and companies). As you start off this New Year, take some time to discuss, not only your marketing strategies and campaigns for the year ahead, but the results you’re hoping to see and how you’ll know when you achieve them.
Marketing being the complex endeavor it is, you’ll need to talk not just to your peers and staff, but also your immediate superior and, possibly, the executives in the C suite. While you may be focusing on the number of campaigns you want to launch, the response rates you’re anticipating and the leads you’re hoping to generate (something that usually resonates with sales), you may find your CFO is concerned about the costs to generate those leads, while the CEO is asking about ROI. If your marketing also includes public relations, your PR people may be looking at column inches or the number of bylined articles they get published.
It’s your job, as the CMO, to pull all of these disparate hopes, dreams, wants and wishes into some kind of unified plan for the year, complete with measures for success. (As if you didn’t already have enough to worry about!)
While you’re at it, don’t forget that at least a portion of your ability to successfully implement all of your plans depends on the performance of your vendors. You may think of your fulfillment partner as the company that pushes things out the door after the fact, but fulfillment can be a useful resource during the planning phase. Your account team can work with you to analyze how well your previous and current communications, media and underlying production processes are working and suggest ways to increase efficiency and enhance results.
Often, the same technology or tool can achieve both of those ends. Data-driven, variable digital printing is a good example. Using this technology, you can personalize your materials for greater relevance – and do it cost-effectively for a market of as little as one person – because digital print eliminates expensive, time-consuming make-ready and press preparation. Because digital print allows you to print just in time, it also lets you eliminate storage, insurance (and, ultimately, disposal of) large quantities of inventory, for further cost savings.
You can also use digital print to produce other materials on an as-needed basis – perhaps when offset inventory reaches a certain quantity, or for materials needed only during certain periods of the year, or for items that change frequently, such as price lists. Your fulfillment partner can help you identify which materials are good candidates for this type of production.
The point is – your fulfillment partner has a lot more to offer than just pick-and-pack. Getting your account team involved whenever you’re in planning or reevaluation mode can help put you on the road to greater success in the months to come.