Catalog Success February 2009
Online marketing activities produce a cacophony of statistics: E-mail screams with information about open and clickthrough rates. Paid search demands that you focus on deliverability and clickthrough rates. Search engine optimization hounds you to build inbound links. The daily stream of numbers can be deafening, leaving you unsure of what to pay attention to. Yet the most important metric for the success of your online business lies quietly behind all this data.
Pan American Develop-ment Foundation (PADF): This nonprofit organization that creates public-private partnerships to assist disadvantaged people in Latin America and the Caribbean has launched a print catalog of corporate social responsibility and cause-related marketing opportunities in those regions. The 28-page book provides an overview of PADF projects that are well-suited for private-sector participation.
Cumbersome. Awkward. Do you say this and worse about your order management system, your CRM package or whatever you call your central repository of data? If so, you’re not alone.
Remember when Macs were supposed to make our lives easier? The world of rubber cement, dull blades, plugged up Rapidographs, and cut-and-paste was gone. Voilá! With a computer we could print out a single sheet of paper and a whole catalog page was “camera-ready.” In a few weeks, a new catalog was ready to mail. Fast-forward to the present, and advertising can be created and placed in front of our customers literally minutes after being finalized — all done electronically without a single sheet of paper. But has life gotten any easier?
This month, Margaret Moraskie, vice president of e-commerce for women’s apparel cataloger Boston Proper, discusses her life in the catalog, retail and online trades.
In the first century B.C., the Roman author Publilius Syrus wrote: “A good reputation is more valuable than money.” More than two millennia later, it remains true that a merchant’s brand, which carries its reputation, is its most valuable asset. Consequently, the piratical misuse of brand names on the Internet is a persistent problem that plagues many online retailers.
It’s no secret that there are far fewer list management and brokerage firms vying for our business. Many of the smaller, more entrepreneurial list firms have been absorbed by a few large corporations. As a result, some catalogers believe there are fewer opportunities to negotiate pricing and fewer choices in general. The same concerns exist about firms that rent out cooperative prospect lists. But in reality, the contrary is true.
Customers have few expectations about what they’ll read in a catalog or Web site. That’s why interesting copy and outstanding headlines are such a surprise and delight to them, and why it’s worth the time, effort and expense to write copy that really sings.
Fresh off the sale of their last turnaround project — the reinvigorated J&L Industrial Supply to MSC Industrial Direct in June 2006 — Chuck Moyer and Mike Wessner set their sights on a new opportunity. After an exhaustive search process, these two B-to-B cataloging lifers targeted 63-year-old Conney Safety Products. In a deal financed by the private equity firm CI Capital, Moyer and Wessner acquired the company from its parent firm, K+K America, in October 2007.
When you look at your source code report, it may appear that your Web-only buyers don’t perform well. Therefore, it’s logical to assume these buyers shouldn’t be mailed catalogs, or at least shouldn’t be mailed as often as catalog buyers who fall within the same RFM housefile segments. But, is this really the case?
Problem: The B-to-B catalog/multichannel marketer Patterson Office Supplies was overburdened with too much data resulting from the 9,000-plus SKUs in its quarterly catalog. This data overload resulted in the catalog remaining static for years and, as such, it wasn’t optimized to peak efficiency and profitability.
Solution: Implemented a software product to simplify its data.
Results: Improved data and square-inch (squinch) analysis has led to a tighter merchandising mix and more profitable catalog. Catalog page count has been reduced by 20 percent, resulting in a 20 percent cost savings on paper, 30 percent savings on printing and 25 percent savingson postage.