B-to-B Insights: Catalog Curb Appeal
When you’re selling your house, you plant flowers in the front yard, keep the lawn mowed and maybe touch up the trim with fresh paint. Your home’s curb appeal catches prospective buyers’ interest as they drive by. You have just a few seconds to convince them to step on the brake instead of hitting the gas. The same principle applies to your catalog covers.
Here’s how to plan your covers for traffic-stopping curb appeal:
First, make a list of your best-selling products. You’ll probably end up with more cover ideas than you have opportunities to mail. That’s good. Go ahead and begin development on all of them. Some ideas won’t work, but some may surprise you.
Front covers: Think of your front covers as a series of promotions highlighting your most important merchandise. Always put your best-selling and newly developed products that you believe will become best-sellers front and center. Your top customers and prospects will be receiving most, if not all, of your catalogs during the course of the year. This is your opportunity to show them the products they’re most likely to want. Design each front cover with a single product as the main focus for dramatic stopping power.
If you have best-selling products that are seasonal in nature, plan on beginning your schedule with those. For example, veterinary supply catalogs have months when flea and tick treatments are top sellers. First slot your best-selling seasonal products on covers during the appropriate seasons, then take the remaining best-sellers and pencil them in for your other covers.
Back covers: With your products for the front covers selected, it’s time to turn your attention to the back covers. Typically you’ll want to highlight two or three top-selling products, each from different categories. Remember that the back cover often gets seen first since mail is usually delivered with the address panel facing up.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.