How to Expertly Manage Your Digital Assets
October 1, 2003

Have you ever lost precious time trying to find product-related files and pictures? Have you ever attempted to get remotely located groups to collaborate and share information in real time without spending a fortune in communications costs? If you answered “yes” to either question, digital asset management (DAM) may be a solution for you. For catalogers with a lot of branded intellectual property, DAM can be extremely useful. Also known as MAM (media asset management), RAM (rich asset management) and BRM (brand resource management), DAM has become an integral component of overall enterprise content management, which entails expertly managing Web content, documents and

Shopping for Printers
October 1, 2003

Competition for consumer affection is more ferocious than ever in this uncertain economy. During times like these, cutting costs to save some much-needed cash may be in order. In that vein, some catalogers have taken the step of shopping around their print work. While that can be a smart move, it’s easy to lose sight of considerations other than that all-important bottom line. Choosing a printer based only on price can be a treacherous and slippery slope to travel. Francis Crowley, executive vice president of sales at Spencer Press, a Wells, ME-based catalog printer, admits it’s true that catalogers can cut great

New and Noteworthy Options for Catalog Papers
September 1, 2003

Increased postal rates, demand for more environmentally friendly paper and a tough economic forecast are just a few factors spurring paper companies to release new stock options for catalogers. As you look toward your next paper contract period, keep in mind a few of the following choices. --- Glare Guard; Expanded Weight Range Sappi recently introduced two paper lines: • Somerset Satin, a non-gloss finish, has a surface that resembles a matte stock when printing text, but acts like a gloss coated stock when printing four-color photography or illustration. The contrast between the text and illustrated areas gives the appearance of a spot gloss

PDF for Print, Proofing and More
May 1, 2003

Financial stressors are compelling many catalogers to take a minutely detailed look at production workflow and the technologies that will best support their print- and electronic-media efforts. At the same time, standards-based Portable Document File (PDF) exchange is largely leading the way in digital production and prepress. When many catalogers first made the leap to digital print production — migrating from the initial native application exchange scenario to more sophisticated (and reliable) standards-based PDF/X-1a exchange, for example — it seemed they had reached the pinnacle of their print efforts. Certainly, with film-based processes gone and a seamless digital workflow in place with prepress and

Catalog Production in the Digital Age
April 1, 2003

Digital workflow for print catalogs is hardly futuristic; in fact, it’s downright mature. Following the dawn of computer-to-plate (CTP) manufacturing in the early 1990s, digital workflow technologies flooded the market to support the CTP ideal. Print industry vendors and developers brought tools such as digital asset management solutions, preflighting programs, high-speed RIPs and Internet-enabled file transfer services to market in a relative blink of an eye. Since those first-generation solutions were unveiled, they have evolved to support the rapidly changing demands of catalog print production and manufacturing. Preflighting Perhaps the best demonstration of continued evolution of an early-day concept is preflighting.

One-to-One Marketing
February 1, 2003

The average American’s trip to the mailbox isn’t as impersonal as it once was. It’s no longer status-quo to get mail addressed to “occupant.” Direct mailers have long been in tune with the benefits of one-to-one marketing, and some catalogers are following suit. Victoria’s Secret is versioning mailings to best suit customers. For example, the company monitors buying habits, and when a customer hasn’t bought in a set amount of time, she gets a catalog version that offers discounts. Other catalogers use their front and/or back covers to send personalized messages to customers, while still others produce titles with versioned inserts that introduce

The Debate: Using Recycled Paper in Catalogs
January 1, 2003

Enough wood to make a 6-foot fence stretching across the United States seven times, or to make copy paper for 18.2 million people. That’s how much the entire catalog industry could save if it used paper composed of just 10-percent postconsumer recycled content, according to experts. A study by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation (the Alliance), a project of Environmental Defense, a nonprofit organization, revealed that despite such potential environmental savings, most catalogers instead print their pages on virgin (non-recycled) paper. Several industry experts largely attribute catalogers’ resistance to using recycled paper to concern about cost and possible decrease in sales. “It’s

VWR International: Synergy in Action
January 1, 2003

We are the largest store in the world doing an exclusive mail order business. We occupy 25 acres of floor space, employ 2,000 clerks and have 2,000,000 customers who buy from us by mail. From 15,000 to 35,000 orders and letters come to us daily. Our average daily shipments are: 2,500 packages by freight, 4,000 by express and 6,500 by mail—a total of 13,000 packages daily. ... We have just issued a new catalogue—No. 68—the largest, finest and most complete book of its kind ever published. It contains 1,200 pages, 17,000 pictures. It gives wholesale prices and truthful descriptions of 70,000 things. —Montgomery Ward

Printing & Paper Efficiences
November 1, 2002

In this day of rising costs and lower-than-expected response rates, it’s important to know how best to maximize your catalog print manufacturing, paper and postage efficiencies. These costs represent, on average, 80 percent of total catalog selling expenses and 20 percent to 25 percent of net sales. This month, I’ll examine various printing and paper cost options that can reduce your expenses while maximizing page count. In other words, I’ll look at ways to stretch your catalog-expense dollars. Maximize Page Count Pages increase the amount of revenue generated per catalog mailed. Rule of thumb: The revenue per catalog mailed will increase at

How to Select a Digital Content Management System
October 1, 2002

As a cataloger, you want to present the right information at the right time to the right customers in their preferred media. Indeed, your company’s success may be based on the ability to market products accurately and retain a consistent message across all of your marketing vehicles, including print, Web and direct mail. Today, many catalogers find that about 30 percent of their customers use print catalogs as their shopping lists and the Web as their actual ordering method. To guarantee customer satisfaction, then, it’s crucial that your product information be consistent in both channels. That’s where technologies such as digital