Case Study: Tender Heart Treasures
“We’re building our e-commerce sites in conjunction with the other new systems,” says Lisa Kuehl, advertising manager. “We’re incorporating functionality that will allow the customer to cross-navigate between the two sites, ordering items from both in one shopping trip.”
Company executives anticipate launching full-service Web sites for both its Tender Heart Treasures and A Special Place catalogs early next year. At that time, Kuehl says, the company also will develop and implement e-mail promotions and campaigns to support both sites.
Product Is Prominent in Catalog Creative
The creative staff also is intimately involved with the company’s products. To keep the catalogs’ focus on their unique products, Tender Heart Treasures’ creative team works closely with merchandising and marketing. All of the company’s creative and production is handled by its own in-house agency, which helps to foster the close working relationship.
From product photography and page-layout design to copywriting, public relations and production coordination, a team of 12 creates and produces all of the company’s advertising material, including catalogs, space ads, direct mail packages and visual merchandising displays. Annually, they generate more than 700 fresh catalog pages and more than 2,000 new shots between the two titles.
There are some specific creative decisions in which merchandisers and creative staff collaborate. For instance, in paginating the catalogs, they discuss which products are expected to be key sellers and which should get prominent positioning. Cover decisions, too, are a joint effort between advertising, merchandising and marketing.
“Our merchants recommend key selling products, and advertising carries out the presentation,” says Watanabe-Gerdes. “Marketing evaluates the strength of each cover based on its mailing strategy.”
Bottom Line: Is the Customer Happy?
When all is said and done, the company’s goal is a satisfied customer. As such, it sees customer service as a competitive strategy —starting at the beginning with product quality.