"Fear of Selling" is a paranoia caused by catalog marketing myths. Particularly susceptible are decision makers without marketing backgrounds, marketers without catalog experience and designers who never see test results. Try the following prescriptions for debunking catalog myths.
In late November, we surveyed the All About ROI editorial board members and other marketing insiders to gauge their views on the year ahead. At press time on the eve of the 2009 holiday homestretch, with their hopes for a better sales outcome than 2008 looking modest at best, few saw an especially bright light shining by December. Instead, many settled in to make the appropriate adjustments for reduced demand.
PATIENT: Doc, I hope to keep my catalog healthy during this economic epidemic. I've slimmed down by cutting overhead. Now I need to focus on marketing. But it's got to be low or no risk. Any sure things that I can count on to deliver results? CATALOG DOCTOR: There are no "sure things." But like fruits and vegetables can help keep your body in shape, here are two prescriptions to help your catalog health.
PATIENT: Doc, I'm worried that my catalog program is in a rut. I'm tracking my competitors, but they're in ruts, too, so I'm not getting new ideas there. How can my team and I develop some new, innovative ideas instead of the same old retreads? CATALOG DOCTOR: It's hard to envision new ideas when you keep staring at the same old bag of tools. To stimulate your thinking, break away from the catalog world, see what the rest of the world is doing, then think about how you can apply that to your catalog.
Tired of reading about what a tough year it’s been for so many businesses across the board? Frustrated with your own results? Scared about the economy? Whether or not you’re struggling as much as others, here’s a little tonic: our annual best-of feature, in which we’ve pulled what we believe to be the 50 best and most implementable tips of the year from Catalog Success magazine as well as our weekly e-newsletter, Tactics & Tips. There’s nothing fancy here. Each paragraph is taken from a particular story that’s referenced, so you can turn or click back to reread the full story or act on
PATIENT: My catalog’s in a fairly crowded market. All my competitors look similar and carry many similar products. Is that the best way to do it? Will I sell more being more like the competition, or should I work to be really different? CATALOG DOCTOR: Being different is better for your catalog, but there are some wrinkles, too. Learn the signs and symptoms of being too much like your competitors. Do your customers get you mixed up with your competitors? If so, you’re losing out on building customer loyalty and higher response. Sit back, let me tell you a story. Five
PATIENT: The copy in my catalog has always been good. But the young people on my staff say it needs to be way shorter — that no one reads anymore. My older staff says I need to keep copy long so customers get all the information they need to buy. I want to keep up with the times, but I don’t want sales to go down. Who’s right? CATALOG DOCTOR: They’re both right, but you don’t need to choose. Your copy can be short and informative. The key is to organize copy in ways that make life easier for your customers. To see
PATIENT: Doc, 20 years ago, I launched a new catalog successfully. Now I’m thinking of launching another one. But I’ve been out of the business for a while. A lot must have changed in the last 20 years. What’s different about a launch or spin-off today that I need to know? CATALOG DOCTOR: Many of the old prescriptions for a launch or spin-off still work. But there are also new, complex combination treatments because of today’s postage costs, paper costs and the growth of the Web. Kitchen Table Still Usable? Launching a brand-new catalog from your kitchen table is still a theoretical possibility. Then
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Patient: Doc, our catalog works great for our core audience. We know this because we get tons of love letters from customers. So why can’t we improve response rates and grow faster? Catalog Doctor: Just like building your body, building a strong core audience for your catalog is important. But if you only work on your core, you may be leaving the rest of yourself weak. Patient: You mean, like strong abs aren’t enough? I also have to build up my arms and legs? Catalog Doctor: Exactly. You must focus harder on selling to your marginal audience, not just your core. Make it