Catalog Creative Breakthroughs (1,612 words)
Another personalized technique in the food industry started by Harry & David is the personalized gift-giver package in which the catalog is mailed in an envelope with a personalized letter to the gift giver and a personalized list of gift recipients from the previous year. Does it work? Like gangbusters! (See "#6-Loyalty Marketing.")
Digital or direct-to-plate printing is making the cost and control of catalog versions much simpler.
5. Unique Offers
Historically, catalogers have thought that presenting their merchandise in a well-designed, well-written and well-photographed manner is all that it takes to get orders. And these elements are certainly the starting point. But with today's more fickle customers, we are seeing a greater use of offers to motivate targeted segments of customers to action. Database marketing and greater segmentation is driving such offers. Examples:
• Getting one-time buyers to purchase a second time.
• Re-activating older-year inactives.
• Increasing the average order value.
• "Early bird" offers to get buyers to respond more rapidly.
• Positive offers to very best customers to maintain loyalty.
• Bundling of product or "two-for" or "three-for" offers to sell more items per order.
Testing offers is critical to really know if they are producing the gains that are needed. Companies like Honey Baked Ham and Chef's Catalog are successfully using offers to increase sales per catalog.
6. Loyalty Marketing
One of the newest, trendiest creative thrusts of catalogers is in building relationship or loyalty programs. Driven by a better understanding of lifetime value, and how important it is to keep good customers, loyalty or preferred-buyer marketing is going to become a hotter topic in the next decade. Who are the leaders in loyalty marketing? Eddie Bauer is one standout that is tying both retail and catalog sales into a loyalty-reward program. Sears Canada with its Sears Club built around its charge card and air miles, is a winning example. Damark is a third excellent example with its Preferred Buyer Clubs priced at $49.99 per year. As a catalog's products become more of a commodity (more widely available elsewhere), loyalty marketing takes on new importance.