Direct Mail

Get a Little Bounce From Bouncebacks
March 1, 2008

Bounceback programs are often limited to inserting a copy of your most recent catalog — preferably with a different cover — into the fulfillment box. But as shipping rates, fuel surcharges and paper costs all increase, more catalogers are opting against this approach. They’ve run the numbers, and their incremental sales from those catalogs no longer justify the expense. If you’re in this position, or are wondering how to leverage shipping expenses, try a strategically planned and formally managed bounceback program. A bounceback program can help build your brand, improve customer retention and develop a new revenue stream, regardless of whether you’re in B-to-C

Update, Upgrade, Convert
February 1, 2008

Having a hard time finalizing your 2008 contact strategy? You’re not alone. The mission hasn’t changed: You want to develop the most efficient way to convert prospects into first-time buyers and first-time buyers into repeat customers. But piece together the rapid pace of technological change, the volatile economy, the ongoing migration and evolution from phone to Web ordering, then add the likely distraction of the presidential election throughout the year, and it can make any marketer feel like throwing in the towel in bewilderment. Realistically, there are only three ways to proactively convert known prospects to buyers and one-time buyers to repeat buyers:

7 Steps to Multichannel Mastery
February 1, 2008

Editor’s Note: This is the first article of a three-part series on becoming more proficient and adapting to the multichannel world. Parts two and three will appear in our June and September issues. Can you imagine a catalog/multichannel company not striving to become more efficient and effective in each selling channel in which it operates? Certainly not. This article focuses on the key issues and trends impacting multichannel selling today. It examines how you can improve your bottom line in each channel, cuts to the chase and identifies seven issues that smart direct sellers need to focus on this year. (You can also

Show Me the Numbers; Better Yet, I’ll Show You
January 11, 2008

Over the past few months, we at Catalog Success have been hard at work to further develop a hefty well of research data for our readers. In October we launched the Catalog Success Latest Trends Report, a quarterly series of original benchmarking research we’ve been conducting with the multichannel ad agency Ovation Marketing. In the coming months, we’ll also be running a series of mail volume charts provided by several catalog co-op databases. Like the Latest Trends surveys, these will run in the IndustryEye section of our print magazine. And for the past year or so, we’ve been running a regular reader poll.

Editor’s Take: Tracking the Most Telling Multichannel Trends
January 1, 2008

In the IndustryEye section of this issue on pgs. 12-13, you’ll find our second quarterly Catalog Success Latest Trends Report, a benchmarking survey we conducted in late November in partnership with the multichannel ad agency Ovation Marketing. This one focuses on key catalog/multichannel issues, and we’ve included most of the charts there, so I encourage you to take a look. You’ll be able to find some charts only on our Web site due to magazine space limitations. We also didn’t have the space to include the numerous comments that you — our readers and survey respondents — wrote in response to two of the questions.

Test Private Customer Sales
December 18, 2007

Like you, I receive many mail offers that just don’t grab my attention. If it looks like a “mass mailing,” I don’t perceive it to be relevant. In this age of variable printing and personalization, there’s really no excuse not to be testing various personalized offers. One such proven offer is the private customer sale.
This involves digging into your customer file to find what products your customers have bought in the recent past, or what products they’re likely to buy based on past buying behavior. With this information, you’re able to send a personally addressed mail piece (letter, postcard, catalog, etc.) offering

Have Lands’ End and Sears Finally Gotten it Right? Almost.
December 14, 2007

I must admit I’ve frequently scrutinized those Lands’ End “ghettos” in Sears stores ever since Sears acquired the pride of Dodgeville, Wis., five and a half years ago. For a few years, Sears tried to sprinkle Lands’ End products amidst its mostly forgettable array of private label and largely undesirable polyester clothing. But I’m happy to report Sears is getting closer to getting the Lands’ End integration thing right. And when I received a 12-page mini-booklet — not quite a catalog, per se — I was truly blown away. The 63⁄4-inch x 51⁄8 inch outer cover wraps around eight 63⁄4 inch x 4 3⁄4

Beat or Meet Your Sales Forecasts by Year’s End, Part 3
October 9, 2007

One thing you can do to generate additional revenue between now and the end of the year is to make use of a postcard. We talked previously in this series about using postcards before and after a catalog drop to enhance your catalog’s offerings and increase revenue. We also talked about finding room in your mail schedule to drop an additional catalog.
Now, here’s another way to use a postcard.
Instead of an extra catalog, do a postcard mailing to select groups of customers. Determine what part of your customers and/or prospects would respond to a postcard. Consider mailing to older customers who

Cost-cutting Tips You Can Take to the Bank
September 1, 2007

Much has been said and written about the stunning postage increase that took effect earlier this year. With new rates running upwards of 40 percent-plus greater than the previous ones for some Standard mail (catalog) categories, this may be the toughest challenge I’ve seen this industry encounter in all my years covering the business. Fortunately for all of us, we have sharp minds like our lead columnist Stephen R. Lett and his vice president at Lett Direct, Sandy Wolstencroft. Steve and Sandy took it upon themselves to break down virtually all the ways you can implement change in your catalog mailing strategy to

The Future of SEM: What Marketers Need to Know
April 10, 2007

As catalogers, you know the importance of search engine marketing for your Web sites and ultimately on your revenue. But technological advances and users’ preferences can make a difference in search engine results, page algorithms and spiders, as well as search engine optimization and overall SEM strategies. Manoj Jasra, director of technology at Enquiro Search Solutions, a search engine marketing firm in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, recently shared his thoughts on SEM changes in a blog entry. He warns marketers of some key factors to watch for: *Growth of personalized search. Because this is becoming more prominent, Web site operators have to work hard on Web