Gail Kalinoski

Gail Kalinoski
Limited by Medicare Laws, AOS Finds Alternative Means for Prospecting

The AOS home products catalog is in a tough position when it comes to prospecting for new customers. Why? Half of its business comes from Medicare recipients, and the federal government has strict parameters on how and when it can procure lists. “It makes it difficult to drum up new business,” explains Lisa Juenger, former operations manager for AOS catalog. “Medicare has very stringent guidelines, and we have to follow them to the nth degree.” The Earth City, Mo.-based AOS is a direct-to-patient catalog for ordering home care medical products including ostomy, nutritional supplements, incontinence and diabetic supplies. The current catalog runs 120 pages and will

Case Study: Photography Changes Yield Picture-perfect Results at Strasburg Children

Problem: The Strasburg Children catalog wanted to improve the quality of its photographs. Solution: It hired an outside photography studio. Results: Strasburg Children has seen a 400 percent increase in catalog requests via phone and online. It’s also experienced an increase in Web sales and store traffic. Strasburg Children, a multichannel marketer of high-end children’s clothing, knew it had quality products, but company officials felt its photography didn’t show off the intricate detail and delicate beauty of its clothing. Strasburg Children has gone from four stores to almost 100. But according to Marketing Manager Amy Hough, “One of the things that failed to evolve with our growth was

Profile: Building a Catalog From the Ground Up

BACKGROUND: In 2000, Kassie Rempel started her own financial planning business, working with five affluent families. In 2002, “One family asked me to work with it full time and help the spouse set up and run an exercise studio and day spa in the D.C. area,” she recalls. The next year, she transitioned out of financial planning and into cataloging. “The topic was always shoes,” says Rempel, who in ’04 founded the SimplySoles shoe catalog. “I found that I was doing more shopping personally through catalogs and via the Internet,” she says. “I decided that if that’s where I saw myself doing most of

Cataloger Spotlight: How My Twinn Uses Tiered Pricing to Encourage Early Holiday Doll Shoppers

My Twinn creates personalized, handcrafted dolls that lend themselves to gift-giving. So not surprisingly, the holiday season is its busiest and most lucrative time of the year. The company faces a time crunch, though, because its artisans use customer photos and information submitted by buyers to make doll heads that look like the little girls receiving them. “We make [the doll heads] one at a time. They’re not pre-ordered or mass-produced,” ex-plains My Twinn Vice President Craig Currie. So, it’s crucial for My Twinn to get the lion’s share of its holiday season orders early. To encourage customers to order earlier, it offers an incentive —

Profile: All in the Family

BACKGROUND: Howard Flax, CEO of FLAX art & design, comes from a long line of art supplies dealers, stretching all the way back to 1938. The first Flax art supplies business was a store in San Francisco founded by Herman Flax, Howard’s grandfather. Other family members followed suit, with stores popping up from New York to Phoenix to Los Angeles. After Herman passed away, his sons Philip and Jerry ran the business. Now, Philip is the chairman, and his sons Howard and Craig, vice president of marketing, run the only Flax store that boasts a catalog. Here, third-generation Flax businessman, Howard Flax,

E-mail Strategy: Effective Ways to Select an E-Mail Marketing Vendor

Marketers are turning to advanced strategies and technologies to ensure their e-mail messages are delivered properly and welcomed by their recipients. But many companies need outside help and decide to hire an e-mail service provider, or ESP. In a recent white paper, Atlanta-based e-mail service provider Silverpop Systems offers advice on choosing the right ESP for your needs. Here are some of the firm’s top tips. 1. Focus on your needs first. Assess the state of your e-mail marketing program and decide what you need to accomplish now and in the future. Establish a business case, goals, timeline and budget before starting the vendor search. 2. Decide

Case Study: Natural Search Program Boosts Pottery Barn’s Online Traffic, Visibility and Revenue

Problem: Pottery Barn wanted to build its natural search optimi-zation performance on major search engines for its three Web sites. Solution: It launched a six-month NSO program to gain greater online visibility for, and Results: Total traffic, revenue and the number of indexed pages for all three properties surged, quickly surpassing Pottery Barn’s goals for the test. Pottery Barn, the crowned jewel of San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma, knew its natural search optimization (NSO) practically was nonexistent. The multichannel marketer’s sites,, and could barely be found on the average search, except by brand name. Pottery

How Pottery Barn Sites Got Noticed

“For a company like ours that has very strict ROI goals and standards, it was really important for us to be in there with natural search,” says Marketing Manager Karen Shea, explaining how the company’s, and sites reevaluated their natural search optimization performance last year. When its sister brand Williams-Sonoma drew positive results from a natural search solution, Pottery Barn’s marketing team began considering its own program. Pottery Barn came up with four goals: 1. Dramatically increase indexation levels on Google and other major search engines. 2. Increase total search traffic to each of the three e-commerce sites. 3. Increase total natural search

Pointers From the Pros: Printers Offer Their Tips for Mailing Smarter

Printers are full of useful (and free) advice for their catalog clients. Their suggestions range from doing more customizing and co-mailing to learning more about how the postal rate increases are affecting catalogers. Here are some of their top tips for catalogers: 1. Consider a trim cut to get into co-mailing. “Even a minor trim size modification may allow them to mail with other catalogers and save postal dollars,” advises Dave Blais, senior vice president of sales and administration at Quad/Graphics. 2. Make it personal. Customizing and personalizing catalogs is a growing trend, Blais notes. But more catalogers should consider it to increase response. “Some

Printer Talk

With the latest postal rate increase weighing heavily on catalogers’ bottom lines, you’ll be needing advice on how to mail more efficiently. While list brokers can offer considerable guidance on which lists to rent, printers are another key source for money-saving tips. Naturally, the issue du jour is the May postal rate hike. Printing company officials say that the postal situation has given them a chance to collaborate more with their catalog clients. Now more than ever, printers are giving catalogers input on co-mailing, customization, paper selection, trim size, and even list hygiene and database management. “I’ve never seen so much conversation and reaction,” Rick Dethloff,

Profile of Success: Press Button for More Voltage

BACKGROUND: “In the late ’80s, I realized there was a gap in the electronics accessory distribution market,” says David Lorsch, founder, president and CEO of DBL Distributing. “There were a few people in the Eastern U.S. that were growing the market via catalog and flier. But there was nobody in the West. Around the point I started my company in 1989, there was no distributor specializing in accessories to independent retailers west of St. Louis. I identified what I perceived to be a hole in the market. And luckily, I was right.” BIGGEST INITIAL CHALLENGE: Finding a customer. “I really started with

Replogle Globes Rebrands With New Catalog and Binder System

Replogle Globes, a cataloger of globes and other classroom tools, encountered several problems when it came to its 24-page catalog. The book wasn’t updated frequently — the last issue was dated 2004-2005 — and the layout made it difficult for buyers to find what they were seeking. “The products went from most expensive to least expensive in the catalog,” says Maureen Kehoe, Replogle’s direct market manager. “By the time educational purchasers got to the back of the book where there were products on an entry level, they’d probably lost interest.” Replogle, a B-to-B cataloger that only sells to dealers, hired Madison, Wisc.-based Planet Propaganda, which had

E-mail Marketing: Tips on How to Get Your E-mails Delivered

Your e-mail is legitimate, but it might be getting blocked because some ISPs think it’s spam. In many cases, that’s probably because ISPs can’t be sure of who you are. This and other e-mail deliverability issues Lyris Technologies addresses in its recent white paper, “The Role of DNS, Unsubscribes and Bounces in E-mail Deliverability.” The e-mail marketing and delivery solutions provider notes that many ISPs offer several tips for helping the ISPs verify your identity. * Have a static IP address to have a complete DNS (domain name system) record. Lyris describes DNS as a giant phone book for computers to find each other. A

Multichannel Marketing: Putting it All Together

In the mid ’90s, Louis Stack, founder and president of Fitter International, was like many people — he’d never seen a Web site. Then a Web developer from Florida offered to create one for his Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based company that sells balance and fitness equipment around the world. By 1997 — the same year Stack’s catalog, Fitterfirst, was launched — the site was downloading orders. Today, Fitterfirst also sells products from a retail store attached to its headquarters, and through 2,500 international dealers and wholesalers. Like plenty of other multichannel marketers in North America, Stack’s challenge these days is in coordinating his company’s multichannel efforts.

Profile of Success — What’s Good For the Goose …

BACKGROUND: A trained CPA Liz Plotnick-Snay will soon enter her 12th holiday season with the Delaware, Ohio-based Gooseberry Patch catalog, a company started in 1984 by her next-door neighbors JoAnn Martin and Vickie Hutchins. The two working moms — JoAnn was a teacher, Vickie a flight attendant — shared a love of collecting antiques, gardening and country decorating. As their children grew, so did Gooseberry Patch and they eventually moved the business to a building large enough to house their kitchen and home décor products, gourmet foods, cookbooks, calendars and organizers. The Gooseberry Patch catalog is filled with hand-illustrations of its products. It also