Mary Ann Kleinfelter

Steve Lett graduated from Indiana University in 1970 and immediately began his 50-year career in Direct Marketing; mainly catalogs.

Steve spent the first 25 years of his career in executive level positions at both consumer and business-to-business companies. The next 25 years have been with Lett Direct, Inc., the company Steve founded in early 1995. Lett Direct, Inc., is a catalog and internet consulting firm specializing in circulation planning, plan execution, analysis and digital marketing (Google Premier Partner).

Steve has served on the Ethics Committee of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and on a number of company boards, both public and private. He served on the Board of the ACMA.  He has been the subject of two Harvard Business School case studies.  He is the author of a book, Strategic Catalog Marketing. Steve is a past Chairman of both the Catalog Council and Business Mail Council of the DMA. He spent a few years teaching Direct Marketing at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

You can contact Steve at

An Abacus/Epsilon webinar I took part in on Oct. 1 addressed the challenge all marketers face today: how to maintain or grow our active customer databases despite increased costs and declining sizes of lists that used to be available for prospecting. Where do we turn for help to meet this challenge? To our customer databases, our largest assets.

Everyone’s Eureka; Reinvented Wheels; Outlook Went Overboard & The Authors Respond

One of the best takeaways for me from the recent Annual Conference for Catalog & Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) in New Orleans was the need to be open to “smart change,” a term I “borrowed” from Sarah Fletcher, creative director of Catalog Design Studios, a catalog creative consulting firm. She said, “The big take-home for me from this year's conference was No. 1, don't panic, and No. 2, be open to smart changes.” 

For many years, square-inch analysis was delegated to the newest member in a catalog marketing department and was almost considered a rite of initiation. Assigning this relatively tedious task to the newbie provided the added benefit of making sure every member of the department understood and appreciated square-inch analysis. Square-inch — aka “squinch” — analysis is a method for determining the relationship between the space allocated to the sale of a product or set of products and the sales and/or profits stemming from their appearance in that space. Quite simply, you compare the sales and profits to the cost of the space the

When I taught direct marketing at Indiana University, I told my students to write “merchandising” if they didn’t know the answer to a question so they could receive 50 percent credit. I wanted these second-year MBA students to know the importance of merchandising. But product selection and circulation determine the success of any catalog/Internet business. And knowing how many pages to circulate is my topic this month. Specifically, I’ll explore the following: • What basic criteria determine proper page count? • What are the economics of adding pages? • How can adding pages be a successful strategy in these difficult economic times?

A good list-hygiene strategy can help ensure that your increasingly costly promotions will reach only those people who are actually at the address to which you’re mailing and can help you avoid sending duplicate catalogs. Today, many catalogers use state-of-the-art models and have invested millions of dollars in operating systems that generate data used to run their businesses. But keep in mind that these models and data will be only as good and dependable as the customer information loaded onto them. Andrew Kapochunas, leader of business development and strategy for sales and marketing solutions at Dun & Bradstreet, notes that data hygiene now

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