Adventurous and Analytical
Responsibilities: Tim Kiss oversees HoneyBaked Ham’s catalog, Web site and retail direct marketing operations.
A great save: In 1999, HoneyBaked Ham relied for the first time on an outside vendor for product fulfillment. A glitch in the vendor’s process caused almost one-third of HoneyBaked Ham’s orders to go unfulfilled. Kiss took control of the situation, and he and his team convinced HoneyBaked Ham’s upper management to mail apology letters to customers in an attempt to retain as many of them as possible; and to mail prospect catalogs to offset the customers they couldn’t retain.
“In the end, our catalog production and circulation budgets that year  were only about half of what it was the prior year.”
By sending personalized letters and select discount offers to unhappy customers, the company retained 57 percent of them — about 90 percent of what it usually experiences. “We ended up seeing an increase of about 1.5 percent over where we would’ve landed the prior year had all orders been fulfilled,” says Kiss.
Education: B.S. in marketing from the University of Georgia
Primary characteristic: “I’m analytical,” says Kiss. “I try to fight it, but it’s probably my weakness and strength in one.”
Keys to catalog success:
• Creative: “Although our food styling was OK, we improved our photography by focusing on the product’s environment,” Kiss says. For example, the catalog’s upcoming cover will feature a ham in a holiday setting, prompting customers to think of HoneyBaked Ham first when planning their holiday menus.
• Relevance: The company began more prospecting in December, which resulted in a significant lift in response rates.
•Convenience: The company sends a gift list reminder to customers who ordered the year before and suggests reorders. This year, it will implement a similar incentive promotion via e-mail.