Golf (and Multichannel Marketing) The Watts Way
John Watts, vice president of the catalog and online divisions of multichannel golf equipment merchant Edwin Watts Golf, offers tips on the evolving catalog/multichannel business and his take on where the business is heading.
Catalog Success: What are some growth tactics you recommend for other catalogers?
John Watts: Be as proficient as possible with your list and database management. You can’t spend money without a return on that investment. Know that the people you’re mailing to are interested in your products. Take advantage of the new analytical tools that are out there. You have to be able to analyze data to know your customers. The catalog business has become quite an expensive part of our company with the cost of paper, printing and postage as they are today. So, you need to get your catalogs to people who are interested in buying from you.
Many companies are hesitant about the up-front costs associated with Internet platforms. They ask themselves, “Can we afford it?” We did this, too. Now that we have, however, the question for us has become, “Can we afford not to have it?” In the end, it’s worth it.
CS: How do you run a profitable catalog business in 2007 and beyond?
JW: Be in it for the long haul. It’s very expensive, and unless you’re an established brand, there’s a barrier to entry. Newcomers have a hard time surviving with the high costs. But I remember around 2000 when everyone was predicting the catalog business was going to die, and it’s only gotten stronger. Start small. If you have a good brand and product, the model still works. You need staying power. Being able to develop an Internet site will also greatly help.
CS: How does Edwin Watts Golf use e-mail?
JW: The key for us is to not send an e-mail unless we have a powerful message that’s relevant to our customers. We’re very sensitive and protective of our customer database. We won’t just send them an e-mail for the sake of sending them one. When we have something that we think is of value to customers (a special offer, new store opening, transactional message, etc.), we’ll let them know. It’s a powerful tool, but we must protect them from spam to be relevant.