The phrase "product life cycle" suggests a smooth, linear process of designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling a product. In a perfect scenario, a product would move seamlessly through several milestones until it lands gracefully in a customer’s hands. Of course, this is seldom the case for many apparel and footwear brands.
Most products go through a series of revisions, reshoots and reconsiderations before moving on to the next milestone. Then there are products that are dropped and progress no further through the process. It’s a complex process, one that’s too large to deal with in one blog post, so for now let’s focus on marketers’ roles in the product life cycle and address how this process affects their ability to accomplish goals and find solutions for some of these problems.
Without listing every complication that could come up during a typical product’s life cycle, suffice it to say that each one creates yet another problem for marketing departments to solve. For example, since any change to a product must be reflected in every instance of that product’s marketing, department staff find themselves in the unenviable position of having to track these changes as well as execute and distribute the necessary adjustments to marketing collateral across all mediums.
Additionally, marketers are often planning for the next season while all of these changes are taking place. You can probably see how even the slightest complication can ripple outward and become a major headache for a marketer. Marketing teams are juggling the specific needs of planning Go To Market (GTM) for the upcoming season while supporting the sales team for sell-in and, finally, supporting the retail partners for sell-through.
The problem here is not that marketing staff can’t pull this off. The problem, from an organizational point of view, is that so much of what they are doing isn’t actually marketing. Due to their unique role, marketing staff have to touch and maintain a product’s brand throughout its entire lifecycle in order to create and disseminate accurate product data and brand story. Traditionally, this has created so much overhead that your marketing staff has probably felt more like an accounting staff, maintaining spreadsheets and manually updating databases.
Envoy has developed several solutions to these problems. Our first step was to improve and expand our existing tools that marketers use to facilitate their GTM. These have already been a success, so it was an obvious place to gain some real efficiencies.
The second step was a little more complicated. We designed our tools to eliminate as much marketing overhead from product lifecycle management as possible. First, they automate updates to assets as your line changes, utilizing our tightly woven system to allow data to flow directly into marketing assets automatically. Third our tools let marketing staff, pre- or post-GTM, control what can be customized so sales reps can easily create and share custom assets on their own, all while adhering to your brand’s story and business rules. We believe this will empower reps in the field while unburdening your marketing team, all while preserving your brand’s integrity.
In this age of modern enterprise software, there’s no reason for your marketing staff to serve as conduits for updated product data - their painstakingly created collateral should update by itself. Likewise, reps are perfectly capable of creating customized assets - control your content but give them the flexibility to customize it based on their specific knowledge of the buyer. By removing the need for some of this overhead, we are helping create more room for your marketing staff to do what you hired them to do: tell your products’ stories.