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EXCLUSIVE NEWS FLASH: Postal Rate Recommendation Could be Catastrophic for Catalogers
March 2, 2007

The Feb. 26 announcement by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of its postal rate recommendations on the surface looked like good news for mailers. But a closer look at the rates for the various bulk mail subclasses exposes a number of potentially enormous rate hikes for a significant number of catalogers. The PRC recommendation is now in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors, who can either accept, reject or accept them under protest. Although the PRC recommended an average rate increase of 9.3 percent for Standard Mail, the bulk mail category that most catalogers and other direct mailers use, a closer

SPECIAL EDITION: Postal Rate Recommendation Could be Catastrophic for Catalogers
March 2, 2007

The Feb. 26 announcement by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of its postal rate recommendations on the surface looked like good news for mailers. But a closer look at the rates for the various bulk mail subclasses exposes a number of potentially enormous rate hikes for a significant number of catalogers. The PRC recommendation is now in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors, who can either accept, reject or accept them under protest. Although the PRC recommended an average rate increase of 9.3 percent for Standard Mail, the bulk mail category that most catalogers and other direct mailers use, a closer

Editor’s Take: Charts, Change and a Little Controversy
March 1, 2007

One of the reasons any veteran in his or her field is brought in to manage an operation is to inject some fresh ideas, come up with some money-making business initiatives and perhaps even spark a little controversy in the process. As I approach my first anniversary with Catalog Success, I’ve instituted some positive change, some new features and we have some other initiatives that you’ll find out about later in the year. Wait! Don’t go to sleep! I’m not looking to give myself a happy anniversary pat on the back (yawn!). I’m talking about some of the previous initiatives here that I’ve inherited, namely

STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE: Catalogers Sound Off About 2007
February 1, 2007

To get a sense of how 2007 could play out on catalogers’ pocketbooks and growth aspirations, Catalog Success asked a few catalogers what they expect for the coming year. Catalog Success: How will your implementation of multichannel marketing strategies change this year compared to last? Tim Kiss, director of enterprise direct marketing, HoneyBaked Ham: We’d like to test dual channel offers. Most of our catalog and Web customers buy HoneyBaked as a gift. We’ll test discounts for money off when you buy for your family at one of our stores and send HoneyBaked as a gift. Phil Minix, president, Astral Direct: Our multichannel strategies

Insert Media: A Miniature Resurgence
February 1, 2007

Like other insert media programs, such as package stuffers and blow-ins, miniature catalogs have been around a long time. But in recent times, their popularity among catalogers appears to be on the rise. Catalogers as diverse in nature as nursing mother products marketer Motherwear International and B-to-B uniforms mailer UniFirst Corp. have been successful marketing through mini-format catalogs. What’s more, multi-title apparel and food cataloger Crosstown Traders plans to test its first miniature later this year. Defined primarily as having no more than 24 pages at various dimensions, miniatures can be a more efficient way to get your product offerings in front of

Special Report: Catalog Marketing Action Plans for 2007
February 1, 2007

Just a month into the new year, catalogers have a mixed bag of enthusiasm. On the one hand, the economy appears strong and consumer spending is solid. On the other hand, there’s another postal rate increase going into effect during the first half of the year. Catalog Success caught up with several mailers and industry observers to give you an idea of which multichannel prospecting strategies may be best for you this year. Prospect With Caution No surprise: Feelings differ about how catalogers should prospect in 2007. “I’m feeling particularly bullish this year,” says Tim Kiss, director of enterprise direct marketing for The

Commit to Multichannel Integration
February 1, 2007

Susan McIntyre, president of Portland, Ore.-based catalog consultancy McIntyre Direct, recommends that catalogers look at how customers use their channels to interact with them. This often isn’t as simple as dividing customers into catalog, Web and retail buyers. The ideal strategy, she notes, considers the fact that some catalog shoppers want to be reminded to purchase via e-mail, while others will look at products online before taking their catalogs to retail locations to make a final purchase. The solution, she says, involves in-depth analysis of an integrated customer database, and a firm partnership between marketing personnel and the IT staff who manage your housefile.

Kayaking, Partying & Profits
February 1, 2007

There’s a very thin line that ties together the two catalogs produced out of 132 Robin Hill Road in Santa Barbara, Calif. Founded in 1994 as Surf to Summit, a B-to-B catalog of kayakin g equipment, the company in 2001 spun off After 5, a consumer catalog of quirky — often wacky — products for wine and martini parties. After 5 came to life after the company found that its customers were responding briskly to the cocktail party-related novelties that it first offered almost as an afterthought in Surf to Summit. But that’s where any similarities between the two catalogs end. Although the

Postal Reform, Shmostal Reform: Beat any postal increase NOW (and look like a hero!) Part 3 of 3
January 2, 2007

Continuing the discussion started here a few weeks ago, I’m firing off some more tips to offset any postal increase, anytime. Use them in good health.

9. Get closer with your letter carrier: If you’re not using a printer who does destination entry programs, then find one quickly. With destination entry your printer trucks your catalog closer to the bulk mail centers and sectional center facilities. The end result is that your mail has travels a shorter distanceon its way to the end reader (your customer). The cost for trucking will be less than the discount from the post office. The end result: you save

Understanding Postal: Spare Your Bottom-line
January 1, 2007

Despite the passage last month of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, mailers soon will be faced with significant changes to the U.S. Postal Service’s Domestic Mail Classification Schedule, the document that serves as the regulatory framework for all postal rates and classifications. In my last column (“Beyond Rising Postal Rates,” October 2006 issue, pgs. 66-67), I shared some of what the USPS proposed in its current postal rate case. Postmaster General John Potter has said that mailers should be ready for new rules and rates to be implemented by May 7. Prudent mailers will get ready to adapt to many changes by early May. Part