Catalog Creative - The RFMP Way (2,685 words)
by Jack Schmid and Lois Boyle
Everyone who has spent any time producing catalogs knows that the process is truly a blend of right brain and left brain activity. In other words, there is almost no aspect of direct marketing that combines creative (the right brain side) and the analytical and numbers (the left brain side) quite like cataloging.
Getting creative-types, writers, designers, photographers and even color separators and printers to understand the left brain aspects of cataloging is a definite stretch. This is not to say that the number crunchers are much better at being well versed on what makes brilliant catalog design.
Many times, it's a standoff between the creatives and analysts—there is a mutual tolerance, but little interest in learning much about the other side. From years of catalog consulting experience, we can tell you that the better each side can appreciate and learn what drives success on the other, the better the results that can follow.
What a funny title for this article. What is a RFMP anyway? If you're in circulation or responsible for your catalog's customer database, these are common terms. They refer to customer database information:
R = Recency
F = Frequency
M = Monetary
P = Product Category
Together this information is used to segment the customer list and determine such things as:
• Which customers receive what mailings?
• Which customers get an extra mailing each season?
• Who might be a candidate for a special, product-specific solo mailing?
• Who needs reactivation?
• Which customers need special offers to motivate them to action?
RFMP is but one technique that the left brainers use to help segment lists and generally improve mailing results from catalog to catalog. It is only one of many analytical techniques like LTV (lifetime value), cost to acquire a customer, break-even analysis, "squinch" (square inch analysis) and literally dozens of economic ratios used to measure the operational and financial health of a catalog.