UpFront Solutions for Tough Times
Trying times reward the prepared. In this age marked by a down economy and international upheaval, it’s best to be prepared for how a crisis may impact both your customer base and your company’s operations. Two new guides can help catalogers plan for crises.
“Contingency Planning for Catalogers During International and Domestic Crises,” a white paper published by The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), outlines possible risk scenarios and offers an issues checklist for each area of a cataloger’s operations.
The authors, Fred Anderson, senior financial consultant, AndersonDirect, and Peter Johnson, Ph.D., senior economist at The DMA, advise catalogers to prepare for downside risks such as a drop in direct and indirect demand and possible disruptions to national infrastructures (e.g., postal delivery, banking).
One of their tips is to pay attention to the calendar. “Moving mail dates to better adjust to the timing of traumatic events is nothing new for most catalogs,” the authors write. “While press times are usually locked in, extra storage costs for a print and hold order will usually be far outweighed by the effect an adjusted mail date may have on demand.”
Another tip: Negotiate hard for discounted hotel and travel rates to photos shoots during this slow period for the travel industry.
Another report, “In the Event: The Impact of War With Iraq on the American Consumer,” by J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich, analyzes the current consumer mindset, how consumers arrived at this current state and most importantly, how marketers can tailor their practices to this mindset.
Smith warns marketers against thinking that a quick end to future overseas conflicts will assuage consumer anxiety. Instead, he encourages marketers to continue engaging consumers during such conflicts. Among his recommendations: Don’t stop advertising and prospecting. “You can’t back off,” says Smith. “There’s a big advantage to increasing marketing pressure in a time when competitors are pulling back.” He notes that only 14 percent of consumers responding to a Yankelovich survey said they would be less tolerant of marketing and advertising during a war.