Print-Plus: Hello Mr. (Catalog) President …
5. It's the merchandise. A successful catalog depends on three things: merchandise, merchandise and merchandise. Typically, gift catalogers will turn over 30 percent or more of their merchandise every season. Fresh merchandise is the key to growth. Mr. Catalog President, your merchandise isn't fresh and exciting. You're trying to pick up too many items. Keep in mind the one-third rule, which says one-third of your products are winners, one-third are so-so and one-third aren't cutting the mustard. Try replacing the losing one-third with new merchandise.
6. We don't have the cash to do that. Growing a catalog business takes funding. The cash flow of a business will determine to a large degree its rate of growth. Postage has to be paid up front; inventory needs to be purchased; etc. Serious money is required to grow a catalog business. Trying to grow too fast can lead to financial ruin. Mr. Catalog President, we need to be realistic about our growth expectations based on what we can afford. We may not have the funding to grow as fast as you'd like us to.
7. Catalog sales from the housefile keep declining. Or are they? Every week when you look at the source code report, it seems that your traceable catalog demand is declining. For example, the housefile that once did $3.25 per catalog is now doing, or so it seems, $2.25 per catalog. But wait a minute. What are you missing? Mr. Catalog President, it's the web. Unless you have a matchback program in place, you don't know how much of the demand that's going to the web should be credited back to your housefile (and prospect) mailings.
8. The prospecting universe isn't unlimited. Most catalogers want to grow. However, they don't always consider the fact that the number of qualified prospect names available to mail isn't unlimited. There may not be a universe of names to mail. Mr. Catalog President, our planning needs to be based on mailing universe counts from the core prospect lists we've been using. Your desire to throw out growth projections is well intended, but it needs to be supported by marketing and circulation data.