By the Stats: Catalogers Seek Capability and Flexibility From Printers
May 16, 2006

Nearly 70 percent of catalogers cite printing capabilities and flexibility as one of the most important factors when selecting a printing firm, according to a recent survey by Transcontinental Printing, a St. Laurent, Quebec-based catalog printer. Other data revealed by the survey: * 33 percent of catalogers look for a one-stop shop, with services from premedia to distribution under one roof. * 45 percent want quick response from sales people and customer service reps (CSRs). * 47 percent value sales person knowledge and advice. * 52 percent look for experienced and courteous CSRs. * 53 percent value turnaround time. * 56 percent want high quality. Results add up to more than

Print/Production: Four Challenges to On-demand Catalogs
April 4, 2006

Two sales representatives carry competing lines of business supplies. Both call on the same customer. The first tries to sell from a 3,500-page “all-products” catalog. The second presents a slim 36-page catalog. It features a customized product selection based on purchase history and is personalized with the company’s name. Which sales rep is more likely to get the sale? We all know the personalized approach is more effective. But there are hurdles in the way of establishing an on-demand catalog solution. By knowing what the major hurdles are in advance, you will be in the best possible position to ensure a smooth implementation. The

Build a Collaborative Relationship With Your Printer
February 1, 2006

Your relationship with your print suppliers should be strong and cohesive. After all, your printer may be your largest vendor in terms of dollars spent annually. Your printer is important to your business, and you should view it as your company’s business partner. When deciding on a printer, price certainly is important. No direct marketer should pay a large premium for the privilege of dealing with a particular printing company. But there are other factors, such as service, lead times and technology, that should be taken into consideration. In this article, I’ll offer tips for maximizing your relationship with your printer.

Trim Costs After the Postal Rate Increase
February 1, 2006

From improved data hygiene practices to a better print contract, a little savings here and there really can add up. Last month’s postal rate increase of 5.4 percent should have caught no one by surprise. If you’re looking for ways to save on other parts of your operation in order to pay for your higher postal bill, you’ll find many options. In the first part of this article, you’ll learn about list hygiene tools that aren’t just important to offsetting the postal rate increase, but are good strategies to keep your housefile healthy and responsive. In the second part, we’ll offer tips and caveats

How to Determine if Co-mailing is Right for You
December 1, 2005

Co-mailing (also known as co-mingling) is the process of combining different catalog titles from different catalog companies into one mail stream to generate more carrier route discount mail. On the surface, co-mailing sounds like a great idea. Why would any cataloger be opposed to co-mailing if it resulted in a greater postage discount? However, co-mailing can be challenging. Five Requirements 1. All of the catalogs in the co-mailing must be the exact same trim size. 2. The ink-jet areas must be the same on both the order form/page and on the back cover. 3. All of the participating catalogs must have page counts

How Two Catalogers Are Saving Time and Money Using Digital Asset Management
November 1, 2005

Linda May Ellis has been on the front lines of digital asset management since long before the term’s conception. Ellis, the image librarian for Norwell, Mass.-based WearGuard, a business-to-business cataloger of work apparel and accessories, started with the company in the fall of 1992, long before the firm took its catalog production digital. “In 1993, we started getting computers — Macs,” she recalls. “Before that we were doing manual paste-up galleys with wax. We used transparencies, but were finding we had more and more digital images. “Using computers,” she continues, “enabled us to work faster. So we were able

Don’t Become a Target for Protesters
October 1, 2005

What you’ll gain from this article: - practical guidance on developing and implementing a paper procurement policy that integrates environmental and business goals; and - a six-step process for arriving at a policy that aligns with your corporate philosophy. A catalog company’s environmental policy reflects the values of an organization and has an impact on relations with its stakeholders. Its implementation within your company will demonstrate your commitment to corporate responsibility. And it can significantly affect your company’s environmental footprint as well as its financial strength. Effective environmental policies guide executives’ decision-making in ways that have real environmental and business consequences. Following

Merchandising: To Theme or Not to Theme?
August 2, 2005

If done properly, themes on catalog spreads engage your customers, enhance your brand and differentiate you from competitors. Just look at Coldwater Creek and how it treats color as its signature thematic tool. No one pulls off strong color as a product categorizer like this company. Color beautifally anchors its apparel, accessories and home decor offerings. When thinking about devising themes for your catalog spreads, consider all the things that come readily to mind: color, price points, style, customers’ needs, practicality, seasonality and sheer creativity. But then what? Themes Don’t Just Happen Catalogers who successfully use themes don’t just stumble on them. Rather, they create them intentionally.

Beyond the Recycling Bin
July 1, 2005

When it comes to the environmental footprint you leave behind in your catalog and direct mail operations, no doubt you want to do the right thing. But understanding the terms of the debate takes a bit of self-education. “The challenge is moving away from the arena in which we talk only about paper made of post-consumer-waste (PCW) recycled content, to a forum that’s focused on the new idea of the entire lifecycle of paper — from the time the tree is cut to the back door of the printing company,” says Scott Bond, senior vice president for Bulkley Dunton, a New York City-based

Catalogs Streamline the Print Workflow
June 1, 2005

Catalog print production has never looked so good. The past few years — actually, the past decade since computer-to-plate came on the scene — have been replete with technological improvements to the print production workflow. Gretchen Peck, a contributing writer for Catalog Success, spoke to four catalog creators to find out what their crowning achievements have been in the realm of print production workflow, the strategies they’ve put in place, the technologies they’ve embraced, as well as new challenges. The discussions revealed that, indeed, there’s been great progress in the areas of content capture and prepress, but there’s still room for improvement