The competition is on. In this economy, marketers are scrambling to find the most cost-effective methods for capturing, communicating and engaging customers and prospects. But they're forgetting that the channel chosen is only part of the equation. Marketers must create unforgettable brand experiences, no matter the channel of communication, to be effective or even survive in our ever-evolving world.
J. Schmid & Assoc.
Clothiers have worked the catalog and retail combination for decades. Knowing the strength of multiple channels, they were early adopters of online marketing. But in multichannel branding, have they maintained their lead? To find out, we recently conducted a secret shopper exploration of Eddie Bauer, J.Crew and Anthropologie. (For the first part of this ongoing series, check out our Multichannel Shopper investigation of food merchants in our January 2009 issue, which is also archived at CatalogSuccess.com.)
Have you ever walked into a store and felt like you’d stepped into that company’s catalog? Or visited a familiar company’s Web site and intuitively known where to find what you need because the site’s organized just like its store across town? Regardless of channel, your experience is the same: You experience that brand.
In this age of economic uncertainty, it’s imperative that your brand stands for something and resonates in the hearts of customers and prospects. Most marketers are under the misconception that a great brand is only about the logo, tagline, color palette and looking the same across all channels. While those are important tactical procedures, they’re not enough to create brand advocacy or insistence. You need a “sticky” brand. In a session I co-presented at the DMA08 annual conference in Las Vegas last week, with Keith Eldred, project manager at New Pig Corp., a B-to-B cataloger of industrial safety products, we examined how to build
The concept of competitive advantage has evolved over the past 60 years. Some companies have attempted to apply advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves’ concept of the unique selling proposition (USP) as a way to maintain competitive advantage in their markets. Reeves’ brilliant conception of the USP was simple: “Buy this product, get this specific benefit.” It remains a powerful technique for marketing individual products. However, when applied to an entire company, it has an inherent weakness. I discussed this concept during a session I led at the recent MeritDirect Business Mailer’s Co-op in White Plains, N.Y. When FedEx began overnight delivery to all 50 states
Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three-part series on becoming more adept and adapting to the multichannel world. Part one appeared in our February issue, and part three will appear in our September issue. The world of direct marketing is changing quickly. Whole new analytical tools, benchmarks and ratios have become commonplace in measuring success. You must think cross-channel if you’re to be customer-centered. And above all else, if you’re a stand-alone cataloger or retail store operator, the corporate atmosphere is forcing you to rethink your internal culture. The opposite of a multichannel approach is a channel-centric one, where one channel dominates
Bounceback programs are often limited to inserting a copy of your most recent catalog — preferably with a different cover — into the fulfillment box. But as shipping rates, fuel surcharges and paper costs all increase, more catalogers are opting against this approach. They’ve run the numbers, and their incremental sales from those catalogs no longer justify the expense. If you’re in this position, or are wondering how to leverage shipping expenses, try a strategically planned and formally managed bounceback program. A bounceback program can help build your brand, improve customer retention and develop a new revenue stream, regardless of whether you’re in B-to-C
Editor’s Note: This is the first article of a three-part series on becoming more proficient and adapting to the multichannel world. Parts two and three will appear in our June and September issues. Can you imagine a catalog/multichannel company not striving to become more efficient and effective in each selling channel in which it operates? Certainly not. This article focuses on the key issues and trends impacting multichannel selling today. It examines how you can improve your bottom line in each channel, cuts to the chase and identifies seven issues that smart direct sellers need to focus on this year. (You can also
It’s only a matter of time before your CFO figures out that you have more influence over his financial plan than he does. But when that moment arrives, your CFO will ask you for a plan that projects sales for the next three years or so. Smart catalog companies handle financial planning as a partnership between the marketing and financial staffs. Mailing is your key revenue-generating activity. Mail quantity, frequency, response rate and average order value (AOV) are the essential numbers for projecting sales. Consider each factor: ◆ Your mail quantity determines marketing expense; ◆ Your sales level helps project the company’s cost of goods; and ◆ Your
In a session during last week’s NEMOA conference in Portland, Maine, Lois Boyle, president/chief creative officer at catalog consulting firm J. Schmid & Assocs., said that the customer experience is the key factor in developing a successful catalog company. Stressing that in today’s world you’re more in competition with consumers’ time than with their pocketbooks, Boyle provided a few ways to help your catalog break through the clutter of everyday life. Included below are four of those tips: 1. Develop a schemata (customer’s frame of reference). Calling it the “curse of knowledge,” Boyle said that many catalogers know too much. “We get so close