Lands' End - Taking On Content (1,379 words)
Think about this: The Direct Marketing Association estimates the average household receives 1.7 catalogs per week. The direct marketing shopper is probably not in your average household, so that number jumps dramatically for the direct mail-responsive.
Now consider that there are roughly 100 million households in the United States. At the rate of 1.7 catalogs a week, it's safe to say the average consumer mailbox receives 88.4 books per year for an annual 8.84 billion in circulation.
From a marketer's point of view, explains Susan McIntyre, president of McIntyre Direct, if you're sending out 20 catalogs a year, you'll need to do something to make those efforts stand out—especially at peak mailing times.
That's the monstrous challenge Lands' End (which mailed 211 million catalogs in 1996) has been taking on since the rise of the mature catalog market. What seems to work in this giant's case is the addition of editorial copy that isn't always linked to products or a sales pitch. In fact, the concept's strength depends on the one reason anything gets done at Lands' End: the customer.
The Lands' End Way
Besides its flagship, the direct marketer puts out seven other catalogs: Beyond Buttondowns, Coming Home, Lands' End Corporate Sales, First Person Singular, Lands' End Kids, Lands' End Kids School Uniforms and Willis & Geiger.
What Lands' End knows the most about is its housefile. In particular, the company is aware that roughly 83 percent of its customers have college educations and are more likely to have post-graduate education. It also knows the average order size is two to three items totalling $95 to $100, a pretty good haul.
The company's customer focus can be seen in the ample copy it devotes to product descriptions. To raise customers' comfort level with buying direct, the catalog aims to provide everything customers could want to know about the garments and their construction.