The Planning Paradox*: How to Effectively Plan Multichannel Marketing Campaigns 

Published On: July 10th, 2023|By |5.6 min read|

*The uncertainty of early-stage decision-making characterizes the paradox of project planning. To plan appropriately, stakeholders must make early decisions to keep things moving but might not initially have the knowledge (or data). More information (or data) might be available later in the production process, but the decisions made in these later stages might be less important for its success or would be too late. That concept is the paradox. 

Large, national retailers—and even smaller, regional ones—often must cope with several logistical and market challenges. One of these is the rapid proliferation of media channels. In each one, they must establish a good relationship with current and potential customers, preserving the retailer’s brand without sacrificing accuracy or time-to-market with each campaign. 

A single, well-planed branded campaign must now feed multiple outputs–each with its own peculiar attributes and requirements.

Before digital, planning and executing an ad campaign or catalog took hard work and creativity. Now, the work is exponentially more complex, thanks to the demands of digital, mobile, and especially social media platforms.

A single, well-planned, branded campaign must now feed multiple outputs—each with its own peculiar attributes and requirements. Each campaign also must be strategic, featuring products with ample profit margins, dependable sales histories, high brand recognition, and adequate inventory in the region(s) where they are promoted. 

All too often, databases are separate “silos” of information–rich in potential but difficult to handle efficiently.

All of these particulars are represented as distinct pieces of data. Some are contained in massive Product Information Management (PIM) systems. Others, like product images and descriptions, are housed in Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems. Still, others are found in separate, often proprietary databases or systems for pricing, inventory management, sales history, social media management, and content marketing. Sometimes, these databases can be more or less related or combined. But all too often, they are separate “silos” of information—rich in potential but difficult to handle efficiently and still leave room for creativity. 

Putting Marketing Managers In Charge 

With little time to spare for research, the best alternative is to let the data tell you which products are best for a campaign.

Marketing managers and directors have enormous responsibilities for creating profitable campaigns. To do so requires more than good instincts. They must also have a solid grasp of the data and how it relates to the campaign. For example, when planning a multi-region campaign, it’s vital to know which products have the greatest sales and profit potential in each region and their stock availability in those regions. With little time to spare for research, the best alternative is to let the data tell you which products are best. In the marketing ballgame, instinct counts, but data makes the rules. 

The problem is that most data is often not easily accessible—or easy to visualize. What is needed most is a comprehensive integration of all that product data, plus the ability to transmit a marketing manager’s decision directly to those designing the print or digital campaign output. 

In previous columns, we’ve discussed how Comosoft LAGO provides such an integrated marketing workflow. However, for those responsible for creating campaigns out of all that data, we must take a closer look at LAGO’s approach to planning. 

Nearly every modern business plan begins with a brainstorming or concept overview process. The universal metaphor for this is the ordinary whiteboard. In this century, physical whiteboards have been supplanted by digital ones, allowing multiple parties to collaborate on visual representations of an idea. LAGO provides such a tool for marketing managers but with a crucial difference. In addition to freeform notetaking and review visualization, the LAGO whiteboard is truly connected to the retailer’s integrated data. 

During the planning phase of a campaign, the manager or director can easily find the products best suited to the retailer’s bottom line. Once selected and placed on the whiteboard layout, the planner’s decision includes the product’s related PIM, DAM, and pricing information. This decision also sets a reliable reporting framework in motion, allowing the marketing manager to track a product’s success in a specific campaign and learn how to improve that performance over time. LAGO’s visual interface gives the planner the best of both worlds—conceptual awareness of a product’s appearance and attributes PLUS a frictionless connection to reliable product data. 

Making the Handoff Easy 

In Lago, the connection between layout and data is preserved. A change in the data automatically updates the layout.

Once a campaign is mapped out with the LAGO whiteboard, an Adobe InDesign template is generated automatically, giving the production design department a head start in creating the output. The template includes each page’s product placement decisions, complete with links to the related PIM, DAM, and other data sources. Each designer is freed from the burden of tracking down all that data or, worse, replicating all the marketing manager’s choices. They are free to do what they do best—design. 

The connection between layout and data is preserved using a LAGO plugin for InDesign. If something changes in the data, such as an updated image or product specifications, the layout is updated automatically. The data flow is also bi-directional. When a designer makes a substantial change—via a documented approval process—the marketing manager is aware of it. 

One of the bigger challenges for larger retailers is making custom or regional versions of each catalog or other campaign output. LAGO makes this process simple, using the original layout (as conceived by the marketing manager) as a “master” version. Unlimited versions may then be created, preserving the piece’s universal elements (and the brand identity) while allowing the substitution of regionally relevant products or offers. Each version remains relevant to the overall campaign while also allowing each location to have the ability to optimize for their market. 

In addition, LAGO also gives marketing campaigns an effective way to replicate a campaign across multiple channels. The data, images, and presentation created by the original designer can be transmitted automatically to the retailer’s web, mobile app, or social media groups—allowing them to populate all marketing channels rapidly with the latest campaign data. 

Plans In Motion 

Collaboration is always the key to a successful multichannel campaign. But the effort is broader than savvy marketing, creative, and production teams. Their tools must be smart as well. With Comosoft LAGO as the expert tool set, such a collaborative workflow is genuinely possible. 

You can learn more about how Comosoft LAGO’s collaborative workflow can connect planners, creatives, and decision makers into your marketing production environment. For more detailed information, please download our brochure, or book a demo to see it for yourself. 

Related Articles