A Chat With January's Profile, Brendan Edgerton, vice president of direct marketing, Crutchfield Co. (Text & Audio)
CS: What percentage of sales does retail account for?
BE: Retail's a very nominal piece of the equation now. It's kind of funny because I've been here for about a year-and-a-half, and when you talk to people about Crutchfield locally, they think of us as the two retail stores. As a result, they kind of miss sometimes the fact that we're a national franchise … and have been so for a number of years. At about 6 percent of overall sales, retail's a nominal part of the order and sales volume here.
CS: How many times a year is the catalog mailed?
BE: We're nearly monthly with an issue. We have eight major book events, eight major thematic book events that we go out with that we change due to seasonality, product. Among those there are multiple versions of the catalog, so we're fairly specialized there — going after our car audio folks vs. our home audio and video folks. And then there's different page counts within that, but it crystallizes around eight major mailings, and then remails or supplements between those eight major events.
CS: What's Crutchfield's circulation total for the year?
BE: We tend not to publish that, but it's in the several tens of millions range. It's been a nice, consistent growth pattern for both housefile and prospecting circulation.
CS: Have you finalized circulation plans for 2009? Are you planning on increasing, decreasing or keeping circulation the same?
BE: As I mentioned, our versioning ranges from a large format that's as many as 244 pages, down to smaller formats that are light as 52 pages. Our plan would be to try and optimize the number of contacts and the breadth of audience that we can reach in 2009, probably through some form of scaling back page count as opposed to scaling back circulation. That said, like all of our catalog compatriots out there, we're looking at contingency plans relative to what will happen through the holiday cycle, etc. Our outlook is still good, we still think the catalog's a viable means of generating inbound calls to our call center, inbound traffic to our Web. And we're bullish on it. But just like everybody else, we've got to maintain efficiency levels there.