The Hacker Group/FCB, a direct marketing agency in Bellevue, WA, produces hundreds of millions of direct mail pieces each year. In the past four years it has consistently reduced its production costs resulting from error. How did they do this? Gayl Curtiss, executive vice president and general manager, shares some of her strategies. Many of her tips directly translate to catalog production. • Award employees bonuses that are directly tied to error-free performance. When compensation is tied to performance, employees are encouraged to pay extra attention to their work to eliminate mistakes. Employees should have clearly defined written roles and responsibilities, so they know
If implemented effectively, loyalty-marketing programs can boost response and customer lifetime value rates. Retailers and airlines have long recognized the lifetime value of loyalty-marketing programs, which keep their best customers faithful only unto them. So why don’t more catalogers implement such programs? Bill Dean, president of the catalog consulting firm W.A. Dean & Associates, thinks the average cataloger feels he or she doesn’t get enough repeat purchases to support such a program, which can be expensive to start and maintain. “Most catalogers don’t really know their mix of customers,” Dean contends, “nor do they know what percentage of their 12-month buyers have made more
Whether you’re a global cataloger pricing in each market’s local currency or a domestic cataloger who gets a trickle of international orders, it pays to issue refunds in your customer’s local currency. It’s one thing to ask foreign customers to buy drafts in U.S. dollars to pay for their orders; it’s another to expect them to go back to a bank to clear a check issued in a foreign currency. This inconvenience discourages repeat business. And even if you’re reimbursing in local currency, you can have a problem if the draft isn’t drawn from the banking system of the country where your customer resides.
The nations of the European Union enjoy well-developed mail-order markets; much of the continent now shares a common currency; and the Internet’s rise has dismantled many of the perceived barriers to international trade. U.S. catalogers have much to offer Europeans, too. American catalog executives well understand the power of branding and have developed niche offerings that are only now beginning to be exploited across the Atlantic. That said, however, there are differences between the two regions that can make your navigational efforts difficult. Below, we’ll identify those challenges and explore ways around them. Creative Challenges While language differences are more apparent when
Choosing a print location for your international catalog requires more than throwing a dart at a world map while blindfolded. When marketing overseas, should you print and mail your catalog in the United States or in your target country? An economical solution is based on production, distribution and your marketing strategy, according to Tim Ohnmacht, manager of international business development for printing company Quad/Graphics. Your marketing strategy and mail volume largely dictate your printing and mailing location. For example, if you’re banking on the cache of being an American company, consider printing your catalog in the States and mailing your piece using the
All list brokers are not created equal. Before you rent lists for a global campaign, identify a broker experienced in international lists and foreign markets. An international list broker should be able to provide more than just mailing lists. The broker also should give you insight into your particular market, as well as be able to recommend some reputable merge/purge bureaus, lettershops and postal services. Provide your brokerage firm with full details of your mailing so it will be able to accurately recommend lists. The information should include: • the offer, • sample mail piece, • customer profile,
Lands’ End has launched six international e-commerce sites within a period of 12 months. “We view international as a growth opportunity for Lands’ End,” says Sam Taylor, the company’s vice president of international. He explains the cataloger’s goal is to create a global brand. The company’s new approach is to expand internationally via the Internet. It chose Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom—the three largest e-commerce markets outside the United States—as the first trio of launches. These also happened to be the three international markets in which the cataloger already had a print catalog and the infrastructure to support a Web site. An e-commerce
Although Peruvian Connection didn’t launch its first international catalog until 1994, CEO and Co-founder Annie Hurlbut maintains the cataloger was an international company long before its first foray into the global market. As its name suggests, the Peruvian Connection has shared its history with the country and mountain people of Peru. Peruvian Connection began as a “happenstance” when Annie Hurlbut came home for her mother Biddy’s 50th birthday at Christmastime in 1976. At the time she was conducting research in Peru in pursuit of a doctoral degree in anthropology. As a gift she gave her mother an alpaca sweater she found in a Peruvian