Okay, so you signed on to be the print shop manager. No one told you that print is simply information presented on a piece of paper. You would like to go back to worrying about ink mixes and plate making and paper grain right now. Stay with me. Multi-channel is not overly complicated if you have a good map, a good group of people, and friends in the fray.
Remember the intersection, data, programming, and visual workflows run simultaneously and support each other. They serve as instrument panels during campaign flight. They do not happen in a serial fashion but are much more interactive and real time. Cross off each box to make it all work easily and seem like magic to the client. Keep a tight look at all instrument panels while in flight.
Data Source: How many data sources will there be? Of course they are not all formatted the same. What do they represent? Why are these being chosen? Get the answers to this question. Be formidable in your pursuit of knowledgeable client excellence.
Data is next. Get samples from each data source and match them to the variables chosen in the marketing design. Decide what is important and if you really even have all the components in each source that you need. It is frustrating to work with marketers and data suppliers to find that what one believed is sufficient does not work at all for the design. There might need to be marketing design or content or site layout modifications based on data. Get to know the data and design.
Data scrub is a necessary cleanup. Once you know the sources and how they will come and understand where they are going, they need to be normalized. How does the client want names presented? Will names be used in purls? Start right and end right. Get the data into as close the final format for all the channels all together. Make sure each data line contains information on source and agreed usage. That will help in analysis later.
Mail processing software can change data format and you may need to scrub after mail data processing. In one scenario it takes NCOA as a separate process than IMB. Know your sequence of data steps and plan accordingly.
Site Feed: Now that the data is normalized, scrubbed, and processed you can feed it to the several sites of mail, email, landing page, etc. Whew. You thought this was simple. Don’t forget the integrated testing we mentioned earlier in intersection workflow.
ARRM: Analysis, reporting, reintegration into the marketing knowledge database, and monitored over a lifecycle. If the prospect becomes a customer and then becomes a consistent customer, the data line represents where it all started. A customer communication activity produces new knowledge gained through site interactions. Consolidate back to the marketer.
Summary: Don’t make this too complicated. However, don’t forget you are in the business of communication now. Communication in multi-channel is two way and sometimes multi-way. It is not as simple as sending out the paper and being complete. You need to get closer to the sales and marketing processes and become their partner in progress. Be the professional.
Intersection is the first workflow requiring major attention in printer support of multi-channel. Integrate your workflow with your customer's needs. Be the professional.
This article focuses on Sales/Marketing/Operations and Information levels of the operational pyramid.