Jack Schmid

Jack Schmid
Creative: Best Practices Between a Catalog Company and Its Creative Agency

Catalogers who outsource their catalog creative and production often ask themselves the following questions: *How can we work together better? *How can we build a smoother creative process for our catalog? *How can we control our schedule and creative budget better? *How can we produce a better and more compelling catalog? *How can we be more consistent in our creative presentation to customers? *How can our catalog enhance the company’s niche and brand better? The road to building and maintaining a smooth relationship between a catalog company and its creative agency is often marred with pitfalls. Here are some best practices for building and maintaining a harmonious, mutually respectful relationship between

Grow Sales and Your Bottom Line

Particularly challenging in today’s business-to-business (b-to-b) catalog environment is testing new ideas that can have a positive impact on future revenues and profits. And if you have a big, perfect-bound catalog, effective testing can be even more problematic. But you have alternatives that can help you present new merchandise and offers or target a special message to a specific customer segment. In Your Creative While consumer catalogs have used order-form changes to test offers, messages and even products, b-to-b catalogs — with their more common single page, back-of-the-book order form — usually must find other ways to test new ideas. It might

Can Catalog or Internet Offers Make a Difference? (1,261 words)

By Jack Schmid Imagine the perfect catalog or Internet offer that •increased response rate 25 percent for the entire mailing, •improved average order value (AOV) by 20 percent, •motivated customers to order earlier or more often, •grabbed the attention of prospective customers and doubled order response and •made a difference compared to "no offer." The following deals with the topic of catalog and Web offers (sometimes called the proposition), and looks at the logic behind offers and surveys several catalogs to see some breakthrough offers and how their presentations get noticed. What Is an Offer? In formal terms, a catalog or

Personalized, Targeted E-mail Catalogs - (1,209 words)

Dream or Reality? By Jack Schmid Imagine a perfect world of marketing where a cataloger could deliver an electronic catalog to prospects within hours of the receipt of catalog requests. Or an electronic catalog that could be added to the circulation mix several times a year for customers, one that could be personalized and targeted to what the customer had previously purchased. While this may sound like a futuristic pipe dream, a number of breakthrough electronic techniques are within reach of catalogers today. There is not a cataloger out there that is not concerned about new-customer acquisition costs and finding

Catalog Covers - Lessons of the Holiday Season (828 words)

By Jack Schmid Cataloging Holiday Covers This article focuses on a number of innovative catalog covers from the past holiday season. Several new techniques were used by companies to make their catalogs stand out. I would be remiss if I didn't put on my teaching hat and make a number of professorial comments about catalog covers in general before analyzing them specifically. Are covers important? You bet your sweet bippie they are! My guess is that this past fall/holiday will be remembered as having the all-time highest number of catalogs mailed. My personal record for catalogs received in one day was 39. It

10 Ways to Put More Zing in Your Prospecting With Alternative Media

One of cataloging’s hottest buzz phrases this past year has been alternative media. List brokers hate the trend, but most savvy catalogers are not only embracing alternative media, they are having enough success with it to build on. Historically catalogers have relied on list rentals to build their customer files. And it worked. Lists proved to be productive and had excellent persistency or lifetime value over time. So why complain or switch from something that’s working? The answer is an economic one. The winning lists of yesteryear are just not responding as well as they did in the past. When I started in

Mining Your Customer Files

Many catalogers, especially smaller and medium-sized ones, are seriously challenged when it comes to developing a stronger revenue and profit stream from their customer lists. The following challenges are endemic to all catalogers in working their customer lists: Knowing which are the best customers (i.e., the ones with the highest lifetime value (LTV) and those most likely to respond to the next mailing); Knowing how to build customer loyalty without having to buy it with discounts, premiums or extensive (and expensive) point programs; Knowing when and how to reactivate those once-loyal customers who you haven’t heard from in some time; Knowing how to

Building and Using a Business List (858 words)

by Jack Schmid In the folklore of catalog history, there is a story that may be apocryphal, but fascinating just the same. It's a story of Harry and David, today's leader in the food-by-mail field. In the height of the great depression, Harry and David's fruit business faced impending doom. In a last ditch attempt to save the company, the owners presented their fruit baskets to businesses as a gift idea. The idea worked and the story goes that it not only saved the company from ruin, but helped focus Harry and David on a new course—mail order and cataloging to businesses and consumers.

Who Should Create Your Catalog? (1,113 words)

by Jack Schmid One of the classic questions that catalog creative managers face is how to manage their creative dollars and resources most effectively and productively. Small and medium-sized catalogs tend to outsource much of their creative effort and concentrate on the merchandising and marketing aspects of their business. Larger catalog companies typically develop their creative team inside because they know that they will produce six or eight or 10 books during the year and it's more productive and less expensive to own their staff and facilities. Even large catalogers, however, find occasions when they outsource certain projects or tasks to creative