Jack Schmid

By Jack Schmid One way: Test insert media and other options. Particularly challenging in today's business-to-business (b-to-b) catalog environment is testing new ideas that can have a positive impact on future revenues and profits. And if you have a big, perfect-bound catalog, effective testing can be even more problematic. But you have alternatives that can help you present new merchandise and offers or target a special message to a specific customer segment. In Your Creative While consumer catalogs have used order-form changes to test offers, messages and even products, b-to-b catalogs — with their more common single page, back-of-the-book order form —

Have your call center reps ask one question per week to gather aggregate data on your housefile. —Jack Schmid of catalog consultancy J. Schmid & Associates on market research methods at the fall conference at the New England Mail Order Association in September:

During his seminar "Growing a Catalog and Internet Business," held at the fall conference of the New England Mail Order Association, Jack Schmid of catalog consultancy J. Schmid and Associates offered a few survival tips for catalog entrepreneurs. "The things that new catalogers need most are the right skills assigned to the right tasks," said Schmid. Some jobs easily can be outsourced to professionals, he continued. "But you should keep some tasks in-house by either doing them yourself if you're the catalog owner or hiring personnel with appropriate skills and experience." Following are Schmid's general recommendations: Keep These Tasks In-house Merchandising. Product sourcing,

Sure! According to Jack Schmid of catalog consultancy J. Schmid & Associates, you can insert a customer survey in your outgoing packages. To encourage customers to complete and return the survey, have a raffle and offer gift certificates for merchandise sold in your catalog. —This tip was offered at the fall conference, New England Mail Order Association, held in Burlington, VT, in September. Reported by Donna Loyle.

By Alicia Orr Suman With fewer hotline names and a scarcity of new rental lists to test, catalogers have been faced with a drought of new names to mail this year. Seeking ways to beef up their mail plans with quality names at the lowest possible cost, more catalogers appear to be tapping into cooperative catalog databases. Catalog co-ops have been around for more than a decade. But only recently have some reached the size and scope needed to become a substantial piece of your prospecting plan—making many catalogers more apt to ramp up usage of this alternative source of

You have a slew of choices when trying to reach prospects without paying postage, including direct response space advertising, broadcast and other channels. By Denny Hatch It is imperative to determine the lifetime value of customers by source. Robert Hackett, RRD Direct’s vice president of sales, provides the following formula: Lifetime value is a function of frequency of purchase, multiplied by the gross margin, multiplied by the duration of brand loyalty. What can you afford to pay for a new customer? To make that determination, Gary Hennerberg of the Hennerberg Group suggests you take the following steps: --Research customer lifetime value.

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