Catalogers Sound Off On the Environment, E-Mail, Rising Gas Prices and More
In addition to the insights provided in print, here are a few more observations, tips and thoughts from a sampling of catalogers on everything from how environmental concerns have affected mailing practices to e-mail marketing strategies to what effect rising gas prices will have on the direct marketing industry and more.
* On B-to-B and the environment, “I don’t think you’re going to find that in the B-to-B market,” says Peg Goelz, marketing communications manager for Shiffler, in response to whether environmental backlash has had any effect on Shiffler’s catalog prospecting. “I don’t think it’s as sensitive there as it is in the consumer market.”
* Speaking on how environmental concerns affect Office Depot’s direct marketing programs, Dean Jackson, director of catalog and offline marketing says, “We have the opportunity to turn potential negatives into positives.” Jackson cited his company’s post-consumer waste policy as an example. The policy, which is advertised on the company’s catalog covers, states that it uses, at a minimum, 10 percent post-consumer waste. And through no mandate of the company, the books are now triple what is required, he adds. He also notes that Office Depot was the first to launch a green book — a catalog made from 100 percent recycled paper that exclusively carries green products, recycled products and solutions — in its industry.
* “You might see some more companies passing on more shipping costs to customers online,” says Jason Roussos, president of Richlund Ventures, as a trend that evolves from the rising cost of gas.
* On tactics Eckler’s uses with its e-mail marketing program, Director of Marketing, Planning & Analysis Charis Gaines says, “We do some sales, but we don’t do a tremendous number of sales because we don’t want to train our customers to be sale-oriented.”
* “We control the cost of our online acquisition,” says Dave Noonan, vice president of marketing and sales at Mountain Gear, in regard to the mailer’s strategy for acquiring customers online. “We manage it to a cost-per-acquisition strategy rather than maximizing exposure. Because it’s so instant in what you see back in terms of response and being able to read it quickly, you can make adjustments almost daily.”
* To offset rising costs associated with mailing catalogs, Soft Surroundings has reduced its trim size slightly “to get postage and paper efficiencies and to take advantage of co-mail programs with other catalogers,” says Jason Woodle, general counsel/director of operations.
* “We continue to increase the spend on paid search as it generates a lower cost per acquisition than some of our other programs,” says Joan Abrams, vice president of marketing at the Specialty Catalog Corp., on the value of the online acquisition tool. “We balance the cost per acquisition among the channels, and right now paid search is attractive.” — JK