Mission, Kan.

Professionally, Lynda Swann will never be another Eddie Smith. Then again, she won’t have to be. The support system her father fostered and nurtured during his 50-plus years running the women’s hosiery and apparel catalog National Wholesale Co. runs so seamlessly that Swann handles her role as president with relative ease.

Want to increase sales? Increase the frequency of contact with your customers, and coordinate catalog marketing and outbound sales efforts. In B-to-B especially, it can be a powerful, one-two punch. But without a well-planned strategy, one effort can unintentionally undermine the other. Here are four key ways to ensure your sales and marketing efforts are in sync. 1. Brand. Controlling brand in print and online can be relatively easy compared to controlling it in outbound sales efforts. Use gatekeepers to assure that you maintain a consistent look and voice in your catalog and on your Web site. If a wrong font or color slips into

By Gina Valentino Five ways to sabotage your single-product, direct mail campaign. Smart marketers, sales teams and business owners recognize the opportunity to develop a direct mail piece that exclusively promotes a single product — an item with a strong margin and an identifiable target audience. Usually the item has a high price point and specific benefits for the buyer — as well as a surplus of information that necessitates more space than a catalog page realistically can accommodate. If identifying the opportunity is that easy, how quickly do you become a victim of either yours or a colleague's best intentions? If

HSN, QVC, ShopNBC — cable television is finding a new audience, and it's not limited to jewelry buyers on installment payments. Business-to-business catalogers are making their entrance on the small screen. Electronics, printers, cleaning supplies, tools, office supplies and even food are enjoying a bit of sweetness in their sales. One tip about cable: Ask who owns the transaction data and information about the buyer. —Gina Valentino, VP/GM, J. Schmid & Assoc., a catalog consultancy in Shawnee Mission, Kan.

By Steve Trollinger How to use square inch analysis Square inch analysis (SQUINCH) is an extraordinary tool for consumer and business catalogers alike. Sorted and executed the right way, a comprehensive SQUINCH can serve as a creative road map to your catalog campaigns, just as your contact strategy defines the plan from a marketing perspective. A comprehensive square inch analysis allows you to evaluate product sales and placement to determine whether the right product, price point or category is given the appropriate amount of space in the right location in your catalog. And by basing the analysis on customer behavior,

By Gina Valentino Nine merchandising tactics to try. One of the most common merchandising questions from business-to-business (b-to-b) catalogers is how to increase sales (or profits) from static product lines. Often, b-to-b merchandising teams are at the mercy of a manufacturer's research and development budgets, as well as the timely release of new product introductions. How can you keep revenues from becoming just as static as the product line? Following are some answers to that question: 1. Modify the packaging. When the product itself remains constant, change the packaging. For example, try stackable boxes with preprinted labels so

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