Cataloger Q&A: Dale and Thomas Popcorn Focuses on Cross-channel Promotion and Matchbacks
Catalog Success: How many stores do you now have?
PG: We have 13 stores, mainly on the East Coast. We have a few in Florida, and one that just opened in Michigan.
Catalog Success: When did you launch the catalog?
PG: We had a print catalog in the fall of 2005 that was mainly directed to consumers. Some went to corporate customers, but at the time we were just launching our B-to-B division, and we did other kinds of marketing on that side. In 2006, we did a lot more of both consumer and corporate mailings to the housefile and prospects.
Catalog Success: Why did you launch the catalog?
PG: The people in this company, myself and the CEO [Paper Direct and Genesis Direct cofounder Warren Struhl] come from a traditional direct marketing, direct response background. We know catalogs work. And we know that catalogs done well drive sales. And that’s not going away any time in the future. We just need to do a better job understanding what the conversion rate is when we put a catalog in the mail. How many people are going to the Internet versus ordering on the phone. We’re in the midst of developing a state-of-the-art marketing database to try to get at that a little better than we have.
Catalog Success: What’s your catalog circulation?
PG: We mailed about 1 million catalogs last year.
Catalog Success: How are you expanding the direct business this year?
PG: We’ll be mailing more to our housefile and prospecting to other lists. On the catalog side, we really have to look at how we deploy our catalogs and how we measure the catalog’s effectiveness. It’s a tough thing in the new age of direct response marketing. I’m a huge believer in the Internet and think having a Web presence is vital to the success of any company. But it muddies the waters as to how successful your marketing efforts are because you can’t track back. The customer doesn’t always give you that information. Those are the challenges everyone in the catalog industry is fighting with, but I think everyone realizes that you have to mail a catalog. That’s the most effective way to get the word out there. People still expect it, they still want it and they will respond to it. You just have to figure out how to track it, and we’re working pretty aggressively on that right now.