McIntyre Direct

Catalog Doctor: A Pep Up Prescription
August 1, 2007

Patient: Doctor, our creative has always been snappy — our photos vibrant, copy right on, headlines catchy — and our customers always responded. But lately, sales have been sluggish and customers aren’t responding to our creative like they used to. What’s wrong? Catalog Doctor: Sounds like you folks have a touch of creative lethargy. It can happen to any cataloger. Your creative just needs some pepping up. Let’s run some tests to see which prescription is right for you. It may require a mix of treatments. Let me start by asking (and responding to) a few questions: 1. When’s the last time

Catalog Doctor: Analyze Digests and Slim Jims
July 1, 2007

Patient: Doc, this postage increase worries me. Should I switch from a standard-size catalog to a digest or slim jim? How can I switch without making my business sick? Catalog Doctor: A digest or slim jim can produce a strong, healthy business. The smaller size often evokes a more personal, “company-that-cares” feel. When combined with upscale design and photography, it also evokes quality and “best of class.” Patient: How can I tell if a digest or slim jim is right for me? And how do I avoid the potential pitfalls? Catalog Doctor: A digest or slim jim might work for you if you fall under one

Small vs. Large: How the Davids Can Play With the Goliaths
May 29, 2007

During a session I led at the ACCM conference last week in Boston on how smaller catalogers can compete with the “big guys,” Terry Powers and Mark Mackaman of ComputerGear, a 15-year-old cataloger of computer-related t-shirts, gifts and accessories, said their key to success is “unique product, unique product, unique product.” They emphasized the importance of protecting those products via copyrights, trademarks and patents. The ComputerGear executives also stressed developing efficient operations. They cross-train CSRs to pull, pack and ship, and they make many of their own products, subcontracting manufacturing that they can’t handle efficiently in-house. They also recommended testing at least one thing —

Catalog Doctor: Intense, Competitor Analysis
May 1, 2007

Patient: Doc, I feel like my competitors are growing, but my business remains flat. Do you have any suggestions? Catalog Doctor: Studying your competitors is a great way to get ideas on how to reinvigorate your catalog program, regain market share and revitalize your customer base. Patient: Can you prescribe something for me, Doc? Catalog Doctor: Here are 10 easy tips for doing a competitor analysis to help you find your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses, and zero in on your best paths for growth. ONE: Set Specific Goals If you set concrete goals, you get concrete results from your competitor analysis. And you’ll

March 1, 2007

Most catalogers these days sell via two or three channels. It’s how they use each channel that determines their success. “The Web made mail order accessible to many, who didn’t need to invest in a big catalog infrastructure,” says Susan McIntyre, president of Portland, Ore.-based catalog consultancy McIntyre Direct. But the resulting glut of Internet pure plays and new catalogers makes standing out from the crowd tougher. Below are McIntyre’s directives for making your catalog stand out. 1. Keep service consistent across channels. Effective multichannel marketing includes both the capability to take orders from multiple channels and the ability to provide the

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.

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

The 50 Best Tips of 2006
November 1, 2006

What better way for a tips-oriented business magazine to wind down 2006 than with the top 50 tips of the year? My staff and I spent the past several weeks going through every article that’s run so far in Catalog Success and the Catalog Success Idea Factory e-newsletter this year to bring you the ultimate how-to “cheat sheet.” Throughout these pages, we’ve synthesized the year’s best tips, summarizing, and in some cases quoting directly, from stories and/or the sources themselves, where noted. Below each, you’ll see the industry expert who offered the tip. We reference the issue from which the tips originate so

Paper Buying Tips
November 1, 2006

1. Get the best price. Be flexible about the paper brand. Instead of asking for a specific brand, say, “What’s my best buy on a No. 3, 60 lb paper, and I prefer blueish tones to yellowish tones,” to find the best-price options in your range. 2. Be flexible about paper grade and weight. If you’re willing to trade down, sometimes the savings are substantial. 3. Get quotes from your printer and broker. Include all costs. 4. Ask your printer about its “house” papers. Printers have a full range of papers they regularly buy in large volumes. 5. When buying your own paper,