Print-Plus: Hello Mr. (Catalog) President …
We all like to have our own ideas reinforced; it's difficult to hear the cold, hard facts. Like successful leaders and managers who are willing to speak up and be heard, I've identified 10 things company presidents don't like to hear. As good managers, it's your responsibility to speak the truth. So here goes:
1. We can't grow if we don't prospect more. A catalog company needs to invest in new buyers. Be willing to prospect to lists performing below breakeven. This doesn't mean the lists you're using are bad, it simply means the payback will take longer, requiring you to make an initial financial investment in your future. Mr. Catalog President, to think that you can grow your catalog business by limiting prospecting only to lists that generate a positive contribution to profit and overhead on the initial order isn't realistic.
2. We should be renting our list to other qualified firms. For a consumer catalog company, I see no reason why you shouldn't rent out your housefile. Mr. Catalog President, your customers enjoy receiving catalogs and are active mail order buyers. You too can generate extra bottom-line income from the rental of these nonunique buyer names.
3. Joining cooperative databases is critical to our growth. More than 95 percent of all catalog buyers already are listed on one or more co-op databases. Your customers are being mailed catalogs regularly, whether you participate in a co-op or not. You're not protecting or shielding customers from receiving catalogs simply by not participating in a co-op database. Mr. Catalog President, to exclude the use of cooperative databases is hurting your growth potential. You're not protecting "your" customers from receiving other catalog offers.
4. We should be willing to rent and/or exchange with our competitors. Why not? If you rent to a competitor, it should be on a reciprocal basis so you too can benefit from using their list. Consider a mail date restriction or an older recency if you feel it's necessary. Be sure your catalog is in the mail first, and monitor and control the exchange balance. Once again, if you elect not to rent to competitors there's a high probability they're working with a co-op database where they'll prospect names anyway. Mr. Catalog President, you have just as much (or more) to gain from renting your housefile to a competitor since they can most likely obtain these same names through one of the co-op databases anyway.