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Multi-Channel: Seven Friends You Need

July 8, 2014

But I made no efforts to organize my supporters to hold on to the apparatus. Consequently I was soon expelled and my followers, who did not change coats overnight, quietly left or were expelled from the party. Earl Browder

Earl Browder historically as a political activist in the 1930’s and 1940’s found himself isolated in the end.  He attributed his downfall to lagging organization of his supporters.  Make your journey more fun. Get the right people engaged.

Executive Support: You need political level allies. Executives make decisions.  There are budget fights and back bites.  Prepare for executive presentation. Multi-channel is a strategic decision.

Make Friends with MarketersMarketing Mavens: Multi-channel is a marketing message delivery system. Engage marketing and sales. Understand the needs of both.  Make friends with marketers. Join linkedin groups.  Get advice from vendors and organizations like DMA and PODI and PIA. Make friends with up and coming marketers both in vendor and outside companies.

Trending Vendors:  Make a vendor short list and check where they are trending. List all options and compare ease of use, ease of training, integration with other products, features, and means of support.  Get consultation on first attempts.  Talk to references on technical implementation.

Lock down a service provider for variable print along with multi-channel purl/gurl/email/postal integration/social integration.  The services will need to work together.  You may have to change vendors. The postal piece, brochure, email, and landing pages all have to work together.  IMB is a must.  Integration into CRM is a must.  You will not use these in the beginning; however, they must be there and the understanding and support must be there.

Choose partners that will grow with you.  Choose partners that will understand what you need.   Choose partners that will integrate with your approach to service and workflow.  Choose partners that will create synergy and not chaos.

Customer Service: Beef up customer service..  Customer satisfaction must be high and stay high.  As you change, they get nervous.  Over serve them.  The customer service team needs to keep customers happy.  Customers will need retraining. You need CSRs that inherently empathizes with the customer and communicate concerns to the production team and to decision makers in ways that help you improve.

People Who Believe In You: Every new venture brings new problems.  Connect early to people who believe in you and your services.  Get them on your side.  They may never understand an IMB from a DMA from a variable image from a purl or a gurl.  They can pat you on the back and keep you going in the hard spots.

Technical Tonys: These folks are Godsends.  By a humorous twist in one group the first name of the variable print, multi-channel online software, and internal technical key technical person was the same, Tony.  “Call Tony,” is heard a lot working in multi-channel.  There is a plethora of software. Smooth integration from desktop to printer rip engine and java based landing page over time and change is tough.  You need a Tony coordinator on your team.  Someone on your team needs to communicate with all the Tonys that represent the different components that have to fit.  All the Tonys need to be friends.  You don’t want them upset with you.  They lead hectic lives and need you to understand their language.

A Visionary:  Okay.  This is you.  You are the visionary.  Make friends with yourself.  There are days only you will believe in you and you must like yourself.

Now that you have all these people and the processes they represent in a harmonious choir of support, you are ready to do something.  You have selected your software, decided on partners and are ready to make selections and train the team.

ROI/ROESummary:

It is time for you to consider multi-channel support seriously.  It is not as easy as some make it to be.  Neither is it as hard as it looks.  You can apply yourself and your team to move forward.  Stay with me over the next few weeks and get the basics.

This article focuses on Be Focused and Be Responsible and Thrive sides of the operational pyramid.  

Let’s talk: Phil Larson or Shepherd Consulting OK

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