Cataloger Spotlight: Content Beats Promotion for Swiss Colony’s E-mail Campaigns
While it’s widely known that hard-sell e-mails with product offers can be effective, at least one cataloger successfully focuses 80 percent of its e-mails on providing benefit-driven content, such as style guides and recipes, which isn’t directly sales-related. The e-mail campaigns that Monroe, Wis.-based multititle cataloger The Swiss Colony develops for 10 of its catalogs take more of a soft-sell approach that works.
Aside from its namesake food gifts catalog, Swiss Colony's catalogs include Seventh Avenue (home furnishings, clothing, jewelry), Midnight Velvet (budget jewelry and gifts), The Tender Filet (gourmet foods) and Ashro (Afro-centric women’s apparel), among others.
Designed to develop good relationships between Swiss Colony and its customers, the process of putting campaigns together for 10 of its 11 titles involves creation and execution by three distinct teams, according to Steve Moon, senior Internet marketing analyst at Integrated Marketing Solutions, Swiss Colony’s marketing arm that operates as a separate company.
First, the brand team for each title determines the plan of action for an e-mail campaign, be it a promotion or a newsletter, Moon says.
Following the brand teams’ plans, a single creative team of copywriters and designers works across the catalog titles, developing copy and images that mimic the style for each brand.
The team then develops a list from the appropriate catalog’s housefile. Swiss Colony maintains its own data warehouse and executes all segmentation for each campaign. Although none of the brands uses personalization in any e-mails, Moon says he regularly segments based on recency, product affinity and average order value. A typical e-mail campaign goes to some 200,000 customers.
Additionally, the Internet team coordinates with the brand team to determine whether an e-mail requires a new landing page or if it can be directed to an existing category page.
From there, Moon’s Internet team uploads both the list and creative to Vertical Response, the company’s e-mail delivery provider. Vertical Response manages relationships with e-mail service providers such as Yahoo! and MSN, and runs Swiss Colony’s list against opt-outs.