6 Tips to Optimize Your Catalog Business in 2011
After some volatile years in the catalog industry, confidence is emerging for better times ahead. Recovery actually started in 2010, when catalogers began returning to higher page counts and circulations. There will likely be some caution in the first half of the year as direct marketers continue to monitor the economy for signs of sustained improvement, but the second half could be much more robust.
Uncertainty only accentuates the need for solid planning. To help catalogers trying to make the most of 2011, here are six tips to help raise your catalog’s return on investment:
1. Plan your paper purchases. Paper prices are a matter of supply and demand, and paper manufacturers are proving they have the discipline to control supply. Plus, it’s a global market, and the buying environment can change very quickly based on currency values and demand in other parts of the world. The second half of next year could be much more challenging if demand increases, so having a secure paper source should take on added importance.
2. Prepare for new Intelligent Mail barcode rules. The Intelligent Mail barcode is the USPS’ new barcode technology used to track and sort letters and flats. It meshes the capabilities of the POSTNET and PLANET barcodes into one specialized barcode. Beginning in May, the new Intelligent Mail barcode format becomes a requirement for earning automation discounts. Make sure your company and your mailing source are tuned-in with the rules.
3. Do your database due diligence. Now is the time to make sure that your data is in shape. That means a clean, centralized database capable of being used for data mining. Targeting is the present and the future — and there's plenty of technology to support it — but nothing matters if you don’t have data in useable form.