Think Bigger and Better
March 1, 2009

It's time to think bigger and better: bigger savings, bigger efficiencies, better negotiations. Dispose of the status quo. The print environment is changing and so, in turn, must your catalog production cost-cutting efforts.

Visual Data Makes Squinch Analysis Picture-Perfect for Patterson Office Supplies
February 1, 2009

Problem: The B-to-B catalog/multichannel marketer Patterson Office Supplies was overburdened with too much data resulting from the 9,000-plus SKUs in its quarterly catalog. This data overload resulted in the catalog remaining static for years and, as such, it wasn’t optimized to peak efficiency and profitability.
Solution: Implemented a software product to simplify its data.
Results: Improved data and square-inch (squinch) analysis has led to a tighter merchandising mix and more profitable catalog. Catalog page count has been reduced by 20 percent, resulting in a 20 percent cost savings on paper, 30 percent savings on printing and 25 percent savingson postage.

Co-Mailing: The Biggest Controllable Variable in Your Catalog’s Printing and Postage Costs, Part 2 of 2
November 11, 2008

This week in the final part of our two-part series on co-mailing economics, I’ll inform you of the various price estimates you need to research from printers to accurately compare savings between co-mail pools. I also pose a list of questions that catalogers need to ask printers when negotiating co-mail contracts. (For part 1, click here.) Cost Estimates It can be difficult to compare savings between different printer’s co-mail pools. To do this effectively, you need to get the following estimates from printers: * estimated gross postage without any savings; * estimated net postage after the printer’s mail pool and co-mail savings; and *

Co-Mailing: The Biggest Controllable Variable in Your Catalog’s Printing and Postage Costs, Part 1 of 2
November 4, 2008

Catalog printers are running full-page ads touting their co-mail capabilities. Why has co-mailing become such a hot topic in the dialog between catalogers and their printers? Simply put, co-mailing represents the potential for very significant savings in postage costs. The variation in savings between printers, based on the size of co-mail pools, in-line co-mail and off-line co-mail, means choosing the right co-mail partner can be the most significant factor in selecting your printer! The majority of a catalog’s publishing costs are contained in the three P’s: printing, paper and postage. The cost of creative, list rentals and merge/purge is small compared to these three

8 Tactics to Save Time, Money ...
November 1, 2008

With today’s tough economic times calling for catalog/multichannel marketers to tighten budgets on every front, one of the biggest challenges is how to cut catalog production costs without diluting the brand or skimping on key creative elements. But what stone has been left unturned on that front? Here are eight cost-cutting, brand-retaining production ideas to consider. 1. Marry and involve both your production and creative team members at the very beginning of each project. Their insight and experience will identify pitfalls, time-saving technology opportunities, and ways to streamline the production and proofing process. 2. Take full advantage of your vendor relationships to minimize paper,

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

Strategy: It’s All About Co-Mailing
July 1, 2008

Co-mailing has become an extremely important way to reduce postage costs. This is the process of combining catalogs with other catalogs to create a bigger mail pool that yields greater discounts for the companies that participate. It’s a complicated topic to comprehend. So first I’ll discuss what co-mailing is and how to do it, then get into its advantages and disadvantages, and lastly what you can expect in terms of net savings. Ways to Co-Mail There are two ways to commingle publications for co-mailing. In-line co-mailing occurs when multiple catalog titles are combined into one mailstream during the stitching and ink-jetting stage on the

Special Report: Sustainability & the Environment
June 1, 2008

The ever-so-common phrase “going green” means taking the three basic principles of sustainability and applying them everywhere you can in your organization. These principles, of course, are: Reduce — lower your waste and consumption; Reuse — using items multiple times for the same thing; and Recycle — giving something a second life. Environmental stewardship is especially important because our industry is too often viewed as a culprit. The single biggest thing you can do is to better educate yourself. Ask questions about your production process and the materials that are being used. How much do you know about your paper? Where it came

Guest View: Economic Malaise, Plethora of Vendor Intros Among Highlights From ACCM
May 30, 2008

Editor’s Note: Jim Coogan, a catalog consultant since 1993 and former VP of marketing at Woodworker’s Supply, among other catalog and retail positions, has been a regular contributor for Catalog Success and the Catalog Success: Tactics & Tips e-newsletter for the past year. He attended the May 19-22 ACCM conference in Kissimmee, Fla., and filed the following recap on the event. I’ll file my own personal reflections on the conference in the July print edition. — Paul Miller, editor-in-chief There’s nothing like an economic downturn to get people’s attention. And the state of the economy and how it would affect catalogers was topic A

10 Ways Catalogers Can Help Save the Planet
May 6, 2008

Recently there’s been a groundswell of consumer support for sustainable business practices among marketers. And no group has drawn more ire than catalogers, whose efforts are visible to the public every day in the mailbox. Fortunately, the printing and paper industries have a wide range of tools and processes available to reduce the carbon footprint of mailings. Here are 10 key practices you should implement to make your business more sustainable: 1. Think big picture. It’s the whole supply chain, not just paper. What happens down the line starts at the design stage. Form a team and think the catalog through from beginning to