Direct Mail

Upuzzling Matchbacks
November 1, 2008

The marketing manager was suspicious. The pay-per-click Web campaign results looked too good. A matchback revealed that 40 percent of the campaign’s customers, representing 60 percent of its sales, had actually received a catalog before placing their orders. Scary, isn’t it? That’s just one reason why order tracking still matters. Here’s another: The chart accompanying this article is a real — and typical — example of key code capture rates. This unnamed cataloger captured key codes for 46 percent of its orders that represented 62 percent of its sales. Untracked data represented 54 percent of its orders and 38 percent of its sales. The

Strategy: Generate Extra Revenue While Leveraging Existing Overheard
November 1, 2008

I’ve always believed you put dollars in the bank, not percentages. For example, it’s not the percent of net income that’s important, but the total dollars of profit achieved. To maximize dollars, manage the income statement by the ratios as a percentage of net sales — the dollars will take care of themselves. This month, I’ll review the key ratios of a typical profit and loss (P&L) statement for a B-to-B and a B-to-C catalog company and discuss how these ratios are different today than just a few short years ago. If your company’s experience has been similar to others, sales are

Editor’s Take
July 1, 2008

A quick note: Our June issue was already at the printer while the 25th Annual Conference for Catalog and Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) was taking place on May 19-22 in Kissimmee, Fla. So belatedly, here’s my postconference recap. This was my 22nd consecutive tour of duty at what was once known as the National Catalog Conference, and the Annual Catalog Conference after that. But rest assured, I’m not going to give you one of these old-fogey reflections on how “it ain’t like it used to be.” Instead, let’s track back just a few years to Boston, June 2001. That was probably the most apprehensive

Build the Right Company Culture
June 1, 2008

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three-part series on becoming more adept and adapting to the multichannel world. Part one appeared in our February issue, and part three will appear in our September issue. The world of direct marketing is changing quickly. Whole new analytical tools, benchmarks and ratios have become commonplace in measuring success. You must think cross-channel if you’re to be customer-centered. And above all else, if you’re a stand-alone cataloger or retail store operator, the corporate atmosphere is forcing you to rethink your internal culture. The opposite of a multichannel approach is a channel-centric one, where one channel dominates

Strategy: The Art and Science of the Test
March 1, 2008

When it comes to catalog marketing, I don’t like to leave anything to chance. Just about everything can and should be tested, including promotional offers, cover designs, minimum-order requirements, etc. Knowing what and how to test and retest is important to the success of any catalog. This month, I’ll review a few basic rules of testing, analyze the impact that a test of purchase minimums has on special offers and show how you might set up a test of your own. Bucking the Minimum I often see the minimum purchase to qualify for promotional offers set too high. Instead of encouraging people to order,

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.