Industry Eye: Prospecting - Party City, Oriental Trading Co. & ProFlowers.com
Is Party City's E-Prospecting Too Old-School?
Party supplies retailer Party City has been running an e-mail prospecting campaign on its Web site and in its retail stores for the past several months. But is this tactic too tried and true to be effective?
The campaign offers consumers who register with their e-mail addresses updates on the latest products, promotions and exclusive discounts, plus the ability to print shopping lists. Once Party City verifies the e-mail addresses, first-time sign-ups also receive a $10 coupon off purchases of $30 or more.
Historically, offering discounts in exchange for e-mail addresses hasn't worked very well, says Kevin Hillstrom, president of consulting firm MineThatData. "Customers acquired via discounts don't perform as well as customers who pay full price," he says. But all pieces of information gleaned from consumers are important and worth something, he adds.
"What matters most is what the business does with the information after acquiring it," Hillstrom says. "Today, businesses are happy to have that information and will manage it for what it's worth. They're glad to simply have a 'piece of the puzzle' about customers in their own databases." —Melissa Campanelli
Postcard Mailings Provide Low-Cost Alternative for Oriental Trading
Bulk gifts, toys and party goods marketer Oriental Trading Co.'s customer base, which consists primarily of teachers and mothers, has for years been highly responsive to its numerous catalog mailings, including the company's holiday-themed gift book, Terry's Village.
But facing the economic reality of soaring catalog production and mailing costs, the Omaha, Neb.-based company has implemented a wide-spreading postcard mailing program over the past year targeting primarily customers. The company may go after prospects with postcards down the road.
Having mailed 10 different postcards with varying offers, such as dollars-off coupons and free shipping based on specified minimum orders, Oriental Trading's alternative media program's now in full swing. "Postcards certainly cost less than catalogs," says spokesperson Angela Drew. "We can target more effectively with these cards, and can really home in on our market." Every postcard has an offer; each has a keycode so the company can match them back, whether customers or prospects order over the phone or online. —Paul Miller