Adventures in Data Processing
August 1, 2001

The man’s tone was solemn; his usually voluble partner was silent. “Our consultant projected a sales increase of 300 percent. We significantly boosted spending to handle it.” “And what sales increase are you seeing?” I asked. He paused. “We’ve had a 25-percent drop. We’re nearly bankrupt.” Catalogers put a lot of time, money and emotional effort into fine-tuning their positioning, design, circulation and product line. But when it comes to data processing (DP), most catalogers simply trust that all will be well. This can lead to disaster. In the true example given above, the business-to-business cataloger’s consultant had promised a 300-percent increase in sales,

Top brokers describe today’s challenging catalog list market
May 1, 2001

Finding fresh sources of names to mail has always challenged catalogers. Lately, it’s become more competitive as catalogs all seem to mail into a finite universe of buyers. But catalog list brokers say they’re having some success helping their clients break new ground using tools from non-catalog compiled lists and publication files. Not only is the Internet a research tool for mailers and brokers, but it also is a developing source of new names. Read on for insights into the state of the catalog list market from five list professionals: • Steve Mickolajczyk, president, Brokerage Division, Catalyst Direct Marketing; • Donna

Alternate Media Other Catalogers Use and Why
September 1, 2000

Producing and mailing a catalog can be a most expensive undertaking. With alternate media you can achieve some of the same goals as with a print catalog: Testing, driving customers (new or existing) to your e--commerce site and building awareness/loyalty. Speaking at the Annual Catalog Conference in June, Kevin Kotowski, of Olson Kotowski & Co. in Los Angeles, named some top reasons catalogers use alternate media, or “non-catalog pieces:” 1) cheaper prospecting than with full-sized catalog drops, since most alternate media are cheaper to produce and mail; 2) building and strengthening your customer relationships with name and product awareness; 3)

Outside List Optimization: Does it Pay?
June 1, 2000

Finding the perfect conditions for fine-tuning lists can help define your response. The process of optimizing outside rented lists, commonly called Marginal List Optimization, is known to increase response rates. Abacus claims the lift ranges from 10 percent to 15 percent, which is consistent with my own experience. However, there is a cost associated with optimization. So can we say that the procedure is cost-justified? In other words, is the incremental increase in response and in the revenue per catalog mailed greater than the expense? In most cases, I feel the answer is no, which I will explain. There is, however, a place for

A Day with a Pro: List Broker
March 1, 2000

Competitive, Aggressive, Pressure-Cooker, Intense Editor’s Note: Starting with the following profile, each month Catalog Success will spend “a day with a pro,” delving into the daily ins and outs of the workings of a particular segment of the catalog industry. With a phone firmly plastered to his ear, Stephen Bogner haggles with everyone and anyone to get his clients the best lists possible. Bogner, like list brokers everywhere, is a fast-talker with a personality, and he says that is what rules the list brokering industry. “It is a business of personalities,” Bogner says and follows an adage of the late Mal Dunn, founder of

Going Global
October 1, 1999

Although Peruvian Connection didn’t launch its first international catalog until 1994, CEO and Co-founder Annie Hurlbut maintains the cataloger was an international company long before its first foray into the global market. As its name suggests, the Peruvian Connection has shared its history with the country and mountain people of Peru. Peruvian Connection began as a “happenstance” when Annie Hurlbut came home for her mother Biddy’s 50th birthday at Christmastime in 1976. At the time she was conducting research in Peru in pursuit of a doctoral degree in anthropology. As a gift she gave her mother an alpaca sweater she found in a Peruvian