Direct Mail

Four Last-minute Tactics to Increase Your Holiday Revenue
November 21, 2006

I’ll keep this column brief (I know you want this week to end. I can’t wait for the advanced stages of tryptophan sleepiness to set in after the turkey is done). Want to add some revenue before the end of the year? Try the following:

1. Add an extra mailing in before the end of the year. Try it this way: After your last mailing is complete, mail one more catalog just to your hotline buyers, those who just responded from your last mailings of the year. If it’s too late to get your printer involved, grab some of your bounce back and office copy

Contributions to Profit: Plan for 2007, Part II
November 1, 2006

Last month in this column, I defined the basic psychological and behavioral groupings of prospects and customers as suspects, prospects, triers, buyers and advocates. Developing marketing plans with these groups in mind can increase your results and profitability. This month, in the second of a three-installment series that concludes in the December issue, I’ll explore some strategies and tactics you can implement to accomplish this. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume that you’ve done a proper circulation plan and already know who you suspect will become your customers. Your suspects have become prospects by way of list research, and you’re ready to develop

Get Creative As You Prospect
October 1, 2006

Take the road less traveled. Cataloging, by its very nature implies acquiring customers via renting lists. For some, that’s prospecting in a nutshell. But most catalogers eventually go beyond lists as a means to not only grow the business, but also to combat limited list universes, or as part of an overall expansion into multichannel marketing. But which directions make sense for your business? There are so many traditional choices, such as co-op databases, inserts, space ads, solo mailings, television or radio advertising. Compound that dilemma with the influx of newer online methods, such as paid search,, eBay and

Cataloger Spotlight: Modern Postcard
October 1, 2006

In the rapidly evolving world of multichannel marketing, the print catalog’s role isn’t only changing on the consumer side. Consider how business postcard printer Modern Postcard, which for years provided its postcards to many business-to-business (B-to-B) marketers, has evolved into a cataloger: In mid-September, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based Modern Postcard rolled out a 24-page, 10.375-inch-by-8-inch B-to-B catalog that mailed to about 200,000 prospects (80 percent) and existing customers (20 percent). “We felt that our product and service offerings were amenable to the catalog channel, and we saw the creation of a catalog as a unique means for us to differentiate ourselves, elevate our brand and continue

Still Fit to Print?
September 1, 2006

Despite rapid online gains, future still bright for print catalogs. Considering it’s now been at least a decade since debates first surfaced in this business about whether the print catalog would ultimately become obsolete in favor of online catalogs, you’d think you could make a stronger case for such a phenomenon in 2006. And today, with a rapidly growing number of catalogers reporting 50 percent-plus levels of orders placed online, the writing would seem to be on the wall. But while it’s nice to dream of the cost savings associated with alleviating paper catalogs altogether, reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, to quote Mark Twain.

Don’t Try This at the Office
January 1, 2006

Smart marketers, sales teams and business owners recognize the opportunity to develop a direct mail piece that exclusively promotes a single product — an item with a strong margin and an identifiable target audience. Usually the item has a high price point and specific benefits for the buyer — as well as a surplus of information that necessitates more space than a catalog page realistically can accommodate. If identifying the opportunity is that easy, how quickly do you become a victim of either yours or a colleague’s best intentions? If you’re unsure, here are mistakes to avoid when implementing a single-product mailing.

Fulfillment: California Court Clarifies Rule on Cataloger Fees
October 25, 2005

Reported by Donna Loyle, editor in chief, Catalog Success magazine In a precedent-setting case for catalogers, a California Appellate court recently clarified rules concerning fees listed on order forms. In short, the fees were allowable because the order forms created shipment contracts, not sale-on-approval contracts. The case is an important one for direct marketers. The case, Wilson vs. Brawn of California, was brought by a customer of International Male catalog, owned by Hanover Direct. The plaintiff, Jacq Wilson, argued that the insurance fee he paid for his shipment was deceptive, even though he knew of the fee before ordering and did not want to return the

By the Stats: Cataloger Response Rates Increase
October 25, 2005

Average response rates for catalog mailings increased this year, according to the recently released “2005 Response Rate Report” from The Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The average response rate for catalogers so far this year is 3.67 percent. This compares favorably to 2.23 percent in 2004, and 2.41 percent in 2003. However, The DMA cautions that this year’s increase may be an anomaly. A few catalog responders to the response rate survey reported above-average rates, possibly skewing the overall results. Other catalog-related findings: ¥ 1.8 percent: median cataloger response rate; ¥ $2.41: revenue per contact; and ¥ 57 cents: promotional cost per contact. Source: “2005 Response Rate Report,” The Direct

Nine Tips for Two-step Acquisitions
February 1, 2004

In the old days of cataloging, a two-step acquisition was defined as a prospect converting to a customer after he or she responded to two different marketing efforts — thus taking two steps. Step one was to respond to a compelling advertisement to get a catalog. Step two was to respond to the catalog by placing an order. With two-step acquisition, the broad advertising net usually was cast in a trade magazine, and prospective customers replied by phone. Tracking costs for such acquisitions was simple, as the choices for the first step seemed finite, and the conversion meant loyal, long-term customers. In

Fulfill Inquiries Fast
June 1, 2003

At Lett Direct, we sometimes conduct studies to determine how quickly companies fulfill catalog requests (i.e., inquiries). While some catalogers do a great job turning around requests, many don’t. Unsolicited (and solicited) catalog requests can be extremely valuable, and a high percentage convert into buyers. Therefore, inquiry fulfillment needs to be monitored more closely and given a higher priority. This month, I’ll discuss the importance of inquiry fulfillment and provide results of a recent study we conducted. Unsolicited catalog requests come from many sources. We don’t always know their origins, but we do know inquiries are “diamonds in the rough.” If someone takes