Special Report: Paper
Wade suggests that catalogers seek mills that actually profit from the basis weight papers they provide. If the paper grade you purchase serves as a loss leader for a mill, the paper’s quality might be questionable.
Non-Paper Savings Options
Not all paper-related savings should come directly from paper purchases. Improved list hygiene, tighter prospecting, versioning, changing book size, co-mailing, co-binding and other cost-saving techniques are equally important according to Wilson. And Wade notes that many of his clients had their greatest successes through list cleansing and target marketing: “A lot of our clients have already reduced their basis weight to the point where they feel they're going to affect their branding image.”
White Flower Farm, a Torrington, Conn.-based plants and gardening products cataloger, focuses on making the best use possible of the company’s Web site. “You have to evaluate whether all of those products you put in print deserve to be in print, and you tie that in with your Web site,” says President/CEO Lorraine Calder. “We’re looking at that, as well as how many books go in the mail [and] how frequently to remail the housefile. Or, if we can effectively let people know about the product in a smaller amount of print space, then they can go to our Web site for more details.”
By doing this and through its lucrative program supplying plants featured on pages of Meredith Corp. magazines, White Flower has averted the need to downgrade paper quality. What’s more, while Calder doesn’t rule out downgrading its catalog paper, she’s leery of doing so since it might compromise the company’s brand image. For now, as is the case for many of her peers, the emphasis is on mailing smart.
“We have to find a way to sell product without putting as many books in the mail,” Calder says. “We have to get that response through one major mailing and the other marketing initiatives, whether that be print ad reminders or e-mail campaigns.”