All Circuits are Busy
CDW produces nearly 20 different catalogs, each catering to the specific market segment it targets. A book mailed to small business customers is completely different from one that reaches health care customers. For instance, the small business catalog contains smaller-size servers specific to that market, whereas the health care catalog offers machinery and equipment specific to hospitals. As a general rule, Garlow says about 50 percent of the product line carries over each book, with the other 50 percent being unique to that book.
With 75 to 100 catalog drops per year and an annual circulation of more than 15 million, the print catalog must prove effective to justify its high cost. Though he won’t reveal the exact response rate a prospecting book must achieve, Garlow says the company will pull a catalog if it’s not meeting this level. For example, the company launched a telephony catalog four years ago that was discontinued after a year-and-a-half.
With so many catalogs in the mail, CDW takes advantage of numerous postal savings opportunities by working closely with its printer, RR Donnelley. “CDW adapted its program specifications to allow it to benefit as a co-mail partner in our co-op pools,” Zengo says. Specifically, CDW altered its trim size and adjusted its release dates, within business reason, to take advantage of the increased carrier route delivery and associated postal savings.
The company’s catalog circ has decreased by about 25 percent from its peak in the late 90s, when CDW made a conscious decision to move away from consumers and target businesses. But Garlow says the cutback hasn’t had an adverse affect on sales because the mailer has done a better job of targeting customers rather than just mailing to prospects.
In the past, CDW had two catalogs: a house catalog for its housefile customers, and a prospecting book sent to millions of prospects. Now it produces several books specifically for:
● small businesses;
● medium and large businesses;
● health care;
● and others.