Alternative Catalog Formats to Test (1,467 words)
Examples—consumer: Tog Shop, PBS Home Video, Abbey Press; business: Idea Art.
5. Oversize (9˝ x 12˝ and variations). If one really wants to stand out, and is willing to pay the premium printing and mailing costs, this is the format to consider. Certain product lines need more space to present their products and the oversized format is available.
Examples—consumer: Pleasant Company, Patagonia, American Express; business: never!
6. Tabloid: This format is typically associated with sale or discount offers and is usually printed on newsprint or another low-grade paper. B-to-B mailers use it for interim sale mailers and consumer catalogs use the format to add an additional mailing at the end of a season or off-season. The format is totally different from slicker, smaller catalogs.
Examples—consumer: Gurney Seed; business: Quill.
7. Mini-digest: A number of consumer catalogs have featured this format at the end of a holiday season with "last minute" gift suggestions. Many times only a single item is featured per page. Excellent success is reported by several catalogs that have used this format.
Examples—consumer: Crate & Barrel, Hammacher Schlemmer, Maytag; business: no evidence.
8. Multi-mailer: A multi-mailer is defined as a multiple product offering that is half solo mailing and half catalog. Typically, products are not bound but offered as individual product sheets, with usually only one item per page. Blair and Signature are two pioneers of multi-mailers, but today a number of catalogers use the format for additional customer mailings. There is not much evidence that the format is used for prospecting. While the format tends to be a bit "downscale," even upscale cataloger Horchow uses it for personalized paper products offerings.
Examples—consumer: Fingerhut, Blair, Horchow, Signature; business: no evidence.
9. Handbook: A number of large business catalogers put out annual handbook-type catalogs that often exceed 500 or even 1,000 pages. These books contain thousands of stock keeping units (SKUs) and are typically published and distributed only once a year. It's hard to throw this catalog away, but one surely wants to make certain that the database is correct before mailing.