IndustryEye: The Great NEMOA Debate
Using promotions excessively can be like dealing with the devil. Promote too much, and you not only give customers the impression that you’re an off-price bargain house, but also your profit margins can tumble. One of the livelier sessions held during the New England Mail Order Association (NEMOA) conference in late September was a staged debate in which panelists and audience members argued about the need for catalog promotions. To fuel the fire, response data from a recent Mokrynskidirect catalog client survey was thrown into the mix for each issue tackled.
The debate brought out some issues for all to ponder. Below, are the more noteworthy issues raised, the debaters’ arguments, some audience members’ opinions and the survey results. Having attended the session, I drew my own conclusions and provide you with my own take on each issue. The rest is in your hands to consider as you attempt to empty out your fulfillment center this holiday season.
The debaters were former, longtime Orvis marketing executive Joe Cassidy (now a partner with John Arlotta & Associates) and former Chadwick’s executive Phil McAvoy (founder/principal with PJM Associates). Mokrynskidirect president, Dennis Bissig, and vice president, Steve Tamke, co-moderated the panel. For the record, it’s important to note that after the session ended, the panelists pointed out that they were most interested in carrying out their assigned roles (pro/con) to help stir up the debate — but didn’t always agree with what they were saying.
1. How frequently should catalogers mail special promotions during the year?
Cassidy: “On the low end, every time you mail; on the high end, every day.”
McAvoy: “Never or seldom. Promotions are a drug; you get addicted to them as a crutch.”
One audience member: “You dig yourself into a hole by putting everything on sale all the time. But I compete with the rest of the world, which is doing just that.”