1. Use your catalog hot spots to their full advantage. FIll those spaces with the best products. Don't waste it. 2. Create a promotional plan tailored to drive response, reactivation or conversion, depending on your specific goal. 3. Use customized inkjet messages on the back cover to increase response rate and AOV. People love to see their own names. —Michelle Farabaugh, partner, LENSER

Test the following to help gauge customer contact needs/wants. 1. Simplify everything. 2. Change [your catalog] cover and opening spread. 3. Decrease circulation by raising the standards of sales per book. 4. Allow "cost of customer acquisition" to determine prospecting strategy. 5. Consider creating a prospecting catalog. —Michelle Farabaugh, partner, LENSER

1. Insert bounceback catalogs into all outgoing packages. This is when customers are excited about your products. They're opening their packages, anxious for their order. Now's the time to hook them with another offer. 2. Use outgoing packages for other customer communication, including inducement on further purchases. 3. Use a discount mailer for catalog requests. 4. Consider magazine ride-alongs. If the audience has affinity, why not give readers a means to buy a product perhaps used in an article in the publication? 5. Test package insert programs. But instead of simply giving a card with your top item (which may not appeal to

Some suggestions from Michelle Farabaugh, partner, Lenser: 1. Co-mail with another, non-competitive catalog. If the audiences have affinity, the result could be heightened sales and lower postage costs. 2. Leverage the piece rate, 3.3 ounces. 3. Reduce your page count. 4. Reduce the trim size. 5. Reduce the paper weight. 6. Eliminate the separate order form.

The following are some tried and true ideas you may want to put to task in your own operations. 1. Push your paper/print supplier for ideas. With all the competition, suppliers generally are willing to work with you. 2. Use the most efficient print forms and signatures. Chances are good that if you have a large book, trimming four pages won't make a huge difference in response. 3. Buy paper direct. 4. Decrease paper grade/weight. 5. Change select signatures to lighter-weight paper. 6. Evaluate the need for a separate order form. 7. Cut pages from books mailed during

Prospecting sources abound, said Michelle Farabaugh, partner, LENSER, at the 2005 List Vision conference in New York. They include: - catalog buyer files; - magazines; - enhanced lists; - compiled lists; - proprietary in-house sources; and - co-op database models. Of these, she says, co-ops tend to perform most consistently. Why? They're more stable in response, and more consistent than outside lists. They identify the best mail-order buyers. The names are net of the housefile. And they're cost-effective.

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