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

By Steve Trollinger Four critical components can help you create business-to-business (b-to-b) circulation strategies that measure up. While each may not apply to all b-to-b catalogers, they are: a goal, a tracking plan, good metrics and benchmarks, and buy-in. A cataloger's ultimate goal is to establish a driving force behind a successful contact strategy. Are you striving to grow the buyer file, generate more leads, increase profits or drive up revenues? Each will have a different path. Housefile growth typically means you'll prospect more, focus more on inquiry conversions and be more aggressive with reactivation strategies. You also may try new acquisition methods such

By Gina Valentino In the old days of cataloging, a two-step acquisition was defined as a prospect converting to a customer after he or she responded to two different marketing efforts — thus taking two steps. Step one was to respond to a compelling advertisement to get a catalog. Step two was to respond to the catalog by placing an order. With two-step acquisition, the broad advertising net usually was cast in a trade magazine, and prospective customers replied by phone. Tracking costs for such acquisitions was simple, as the choices for the first step seemed finite, and the conversion meant loyal, long-term

By Gina Valentino Answers to five FAQs. Maintaining a sound balance between assortment, price points and gross margin is a difficult task for any cataloger to master. Add to the job the "clanging" of other variables — such as the mix between new and repeat products, imports vs. domestically sourced items, branded vs. private-label merchandise, and durables vs. disposables — and you see how harmony quickly can turn to cacophony. It's not unusual, therefore, for business-to-business (b-to-b) catalogers to merchandise a catalog with every product and part number found in the warehouse. A decision to increase catalog page count often is

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