Prospecting: Teach an Old Trade New (and Not so New) Tricks
Meanwhile, outbound freight costs have risen dramatically. So the break-even lift for a “free shipping” offer is higher than it was a year ago. Evaluate both front- and back-end numbers carefully before rolling out free shipping or other promotional offers.
Inserts, DRTV, Space Ads, Etc.
Working: Lead generation with DRTV and DR radio. Catalog/multichannel marketers like Doctors Foster & Smith, Vermont Teddy Bear and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM successfully have generated new prospects via DRTV and DR radio spots. Television provides opportunities for exposure to a huge audience; responders call or visit Web sites to request catalogs or place first orders.
Back-end performance of these customers tends to be comparable to that of other sources. DRTV tends to lift overall response to your other catalog, Internet and retail efforts.
Working: Attention-grabbing space ads. Space advertising still works for catalogers as long as you develop unique, attention-grabbing ads. Take the time to test various headlines, sizes and ad approaches (such as advertorial format vs. traditional direct response ads).
Cushman’s Fruit Co. successfully uses alternative media in prospecting, including newspaper ads and freestanding inserts. Cushman’s Director of Marketing Eileen Schlagenhaft shares, “Space works well for us; we’ve developed a very strong ad for our flagship product, Cushman HoneyBells.”
Cushman’s ad contains a strong headline that captures curiosity and attention. What’s more, it’s a compelling, fun story about how Ed Cushman discovered HoneyBells. Combine that with a strong offer of limited supply, and you have a good call to action.
NOT Working: Inserts with simple “free catalog” offers. Many catalogers used to depend on a two-step acquisition process in which package inserts simply offered a free catalog. According to Linda Callahan, senior vice president of list firm Leon Henry Inc., the days of free catalog inserts largely are over.
“To cut through the clutter today,” Callahan says, “a catalog request ad should offer something more, such as a free ‘how-to’ booklet, a discount off the first order or a free gift. Catalogers now are picking up on the kinds of tactics that continuity marketers have used for years.”