Producing and mailing a catalog can be a most expensive undertaking. With alternate media you can achieve some of the same goals as with a print catalog: Testing, driving customers (new or existing) to your e--commerce site and building awareness/loyalty.
Speaking at the Annual Catalog Conference in June, Kevin Kotowski, of Olson Kotowski & Co. in Los Angeles, named some top reasons catalogers use alternate media, or “non-catalog pieces:”
1) cheaper prospecting than with full-sized catalog drops, since most alternate media are cheaper to produce and mail;
2) building and strengthening your customer relationships with name and product awareness;
3) targeting current customers with offers and products suited to them;
4) testing products and prices before they go in the catalog;
5) eliminating overstock cheaply; and
6) keeping the phones ringing between catalog drops.
Most of the following media can be used either for prospecting, testing or for building on existing relationships.
Stan Madyda, vice president of list brokerage at D-J Associates in Ridgefield, CT, specializes in alternate media. He says, “What we try to do whenever we have the opportunity to recommend insert programs is to take a look at [who] the cataloger has already been mailing to.”
If there’s a market a cataloger is not currently going after with list rental, he says, “you’re at less of a financial risk to test a package insert in that market in order to see if there’s any life ….”
With package inserts, Madyda sees catalogers making three types of offers right now: 1) predominately catalog request solicitations, usually for a free catalog; 2) mini-catalogs in package inserts, offering top sellers; and 3) offers to drive traffic to their Web sites.
With inserts you have the advantage of automatically reaching buyers, since your offer goes into the package with a purchase. Success depends on matching demographics with the companies mailing the packages.