Print Plus: 12 Benchmarks Across Integrated Channels
Benchmarking is a set of performance standards for a specific task. Many are standards for all markets, but they need to be adjusted to meet the requirements, limitations and needs of your specific business.
There are many benchmarks you can set; no one performance model or standard works for all businesses. But these 12 metrics should be measured within all marketing departments. Understanding your current performance levels in these terms will help you set new goals and map out the steps toward greater efficiency.
For Catalog Programs
1. 12-Month Buyer Count. If your 12-month buyer count declines, your sales will decline by about the same percentage. Therefore, track your 12-month buyer count from one period to another within the same time frame — i.e., August 2009 vs. August 2008.
2. Catalog Page Count (percent increase or decrease). As a rule of thumb, you'll recognize one-half of any percent increase in pages in actual demand increase. Know the effect that page-count changes have on your sales.
3. Selling Expense to Sales Ratio (print and web). Track your direct selling expenses as a percent of net sales after returns. This ratio shouldn't exceed 30 percent for a consumer company, 20 percent for B-to-B.
4. Repeat Buyers Percentage. Repeat buyers make your business profitable. How many buyers make a repeat purchase within one year? If you can benchmark your current rate of repeat buyers and focus on turning one-time buyers into two-time and more customers, you'll see significant gain. Your profitability will increase as a result, since it's difficult to make money on first-time print buyers.
5. Ratio of Housefile vs. Prospect Circulation. Mailings to prospects should represent 50 percent to 60 percent of your total circulation, depending on the season. Don't get overly aggressive by increasing the ratio of prospecting to housefile mailings. At the same time, avoid cutting the amount of prospecting you do and over-relying on your housefile.