Direct Mail

Opportunity Knocking in 2010?
September 1, 2009

The housing market and employment levels are among the biggest factors economists monitor to get a fix on the state of the economy. Overall retail sales is the other major bellwether, particularly as we head into the fall and holiday seasons. At this point, it's tough to get overly optimistic about an economic recovery for 2009. But amidst the negatives, there are some positive signs on the horizon worth tracking and reacting to.

Tailored Deals Bank Sales
September 1, 2009

With company-record net income of $58.4 million and sales gains of 15.2 percent (including comparable store sales rising 8.9 percent) for its fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, JoS. A. Bank was a rare 2008 success story.

Can't Afford Catalogs Anymore?
May 1, 2009

Catalog Success recently took two of its longest-standing columnists to task. Strategy scribe Stephen R. Lett and Catalog Doctor Susan J. McIntyre have spent the better part of their careers producing or helping clients produce print catalogs. But do catalogs have a future in this integrated selling environment?

REI Treks Ahead
May 1, 2009

The 71-year-old story of Kent, Wash.-based Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), which sells camping and hiking equipment through catalogs, stores and the Web to customers who have the option to join its co-op, has taken a deliberate turn into the modern age.

How Lifetime Value Differs in Catalog vs. Web
May 1, 2009

Lifetime value (LTV) is the value of all purchases a given customer has made to date, plus the value of purchases that customer is likely to make (discounted for present value) over time. LTV helps determine how much you can afford to invest in new buyers looking beyond their initial purchases.Lifetime value (LTV) is the value of all purchases a given customer has made to date, plus the value of purchases that customer is likely to make (discounted for present value) over time. LTV helps determine how much you can afford to invest in new buyers looking beyond their initial purchases.

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,