Identifying Direct Marketing Talent --- The Production Manager

Just as with the artist and the copywriter, the direct marketing production manager offers unique contributions to the success of a campaign. This is particularly the case if the company this person works for produces large volumes of direct mail and Direct Response TV (i.e. DRTV).

The typical production manager in an agency or on the client side possesses a good knowledge of printing, print production or broadcast advertising. But for the direct marketing discipline, this is just the beginning.

Budget and deadline control mark the expert production manager, but knowledge beyond printing and print production are required of the DM production manager. Listed below are some of those traits I look for in DM production people.

-A thorough understanding of database list hygiene processes
-Background in lettershop work such as inkjet and laser personalization, tracking codes, insertion restrictions and postal regulations
-Skilled in uncovering savings opportunities such as mail co-mingling
-Breadth and depth of direct mail formatting options that are available on the market
-Great production managers in the direct field assist the creative team in creating affordable, breakthrough concepts
-For DRTV, the production manager knows how to keep the budget well below the average and still achieve the brand requirements   

You may have noticed that many of the qualities that are required of each direct marketing role contain overlapping skill sets. This is intentional. Each team member walks comfortably from one role to the next fully appreciating the need to share the glory of beating controls as well as the discouragement of defeat when the sales goals are not achieved.

The bulk of the accountability for beating controls often lies with the head marketers and account managers. But everyone shares the responsibility for the results whether good or bad.

As unusual, this list of skills is incomplete. I hope you will have the opportunity and desire to comment filling in any blanks. What other skills do you look for in a production manager?

Posted on October 11, 2007 and filed under General.