Catalog Circulation

Catalog Testing: Whys and Hows
February 11, 2014

It's very tempting to skip testing in a catalog. However, I've seen too many ‘great marketing instinct’ and ‘common wisdom’ ideas crash and burn. It's much better to test first.

Catalogers Need to Capture the Downturn in Paper Prices
January 10, 2014

Paper prices moved lower in the last half of 2013. It's time to review with your catalog printer your paper prices. Paper costs represent up to two-thirds of the cost of printing your catalog, so the savings can be substantial. Here are some examples of how paper prices have decreased since July 2013:

DMA Responds to PRC Decision Granting the USPS an Exigent Postal Rate Increase
December 26, 2013

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today announced that the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has granted the United States Postal Service's request for an exigent postal increase. "They are the Grinch this Christmas," said Jerry Cerasale, DMA's senior vice president of government affairs.  "At least, they state that this outrageous postage increase will be phased out.  Sadly, the

Learn From Your Competitors to Keep Ahead
December 11, 2013

Customer benefits are what it's all about. What makes your brand best for your customers needs to be woven throughout all your editorial, product copy, page heads, design and photography. First, define what makes you the best at XYZ. Second, define how to make it clear to your customer. It's not just about design differences. If you can make a true case for how you're different and why that's good for your customers, that's what no competitor can copy.

Going From Square Inch Analysis to Setting the Number of Pages for Your Catalog
December 5, 2013

A cataloger's basic scorecard is their square inch analysis, which tells how much profit each item and page delivers. Some square inch analysis is meticulously tabulated with the exact amount of catalog pages each item has had over the span of several catalogs. Other analysis is more casual, with less attention to the exact space allocation and the total cost of the page space devoted to each item. Whether the format is rigorous or loose and whether the data is precise or just directional, the underlying purpose of square inch analysis is simple: it tells you whether each item is profitable or not. The issue is simple: Why sell items that aren't profitable?

Flipboard Lets Retailers Create Custom Catalogs
November 12, 2013

Dipping its toes in e-commerce, the personalized magazine app Flipboard yesterday launched a way for anyone to create catalogs on the service. The new feature is an extension of a move in March to allow users to create their own online magazines. To date, some 4.5 million magazines have been created, CEO Mike McCue said in an interview. Flipboard's user base has been booming this year, growing from 50 million registered users in March to 90 million today. The new catalog feature, which adds shopping to the app's range of content categories, is likely to be particularly popular with retailers.

Why the Analog Catalog Still Drives Digital Sales
November 8, 2013

In spite of web stores, shopping tools and apps, paper catalogs are still surprisingly effective at selling stuff. More than half of online shoppers said they browse catalogs and almost one-third of people making an internet purchase have a catalog on hand when they click "Buy," according to a new survey by Kurt Salmon, a global retail consultancy. A whopping 86 percent of the survey's respondents bought an item after first seeing it in a catalog.

Saving Profit by Using Advanced List Hygiene
October 23, 2013

I'm always coming up with tactics and business rules for how to use advanced list hygiene. Many mailers simply don't understand how to implement the beautiful data that comes out of advanced list hygiene. Here are some tactics:

In-Flight Catalog SkyMall Finds New Fans on Social Media
October 18, 2013

Flyers are frustrated with the FAA's in-flight rules that keep them from accessing their e-readers, shopping apps and emails during takeoff and landing. There's one company that's much more focused on reaching flyers once they get off the plane, however. The quirky, always-present SkyMall catalog tucked into airplanes’ seat-back pockets has transitioned from an in-flight catalog launched in 1989 to a thriving e-commerce site with $80.5 million in revenue in 2009. The majority of SkyMall's sales are now completed online.