Don't Forget Your Catalog Basics
I recently had a conversation with another catalog consultant about a client proposal we’re jointly working on. The conversation worked its way to a discussion on the basic fundamentals of direct marketing. In essence, what's the most basic fundamental of direct marketing that we need to present and our clients need to follow?
It came down to this: the 40/40/20 rule.
This rule states that in order to be successful in direct marketing, you must do the following:
- Concentrate 40 percent of your efforts on lists. That means list analysis and planning, selection, RFM, and, most importantly for catalogers, circulation.
- Concentrate an additional 40 percent on your offer. For catalogers, that means merchandising. That requires expert attention to detail, including but not limited to product selection, pricing, presentation and analysis. By analysis, I'm referring to square-inch analysis, the most powerful tool you can use to manage your catalog merchandising — aka "squinch." Understanding the wants and needs of your customers is part of this function, as are the offers you make to them to stimulate response.
- Tie it all together by spending 20 percent of your efforts on creative execution. Literally, creative execution is only one thing: the bringing together of your list and offer/merchandising efforts in such a way that it speaks “buy now” to your customers.
As a consultant, I almost always see this in reverse.
If I had to quantify what I see in clients as they apply the above core competencies, it would be these three:
- 50 percent merchandising, with less emphasis on analysis and more on product development and presentation;
- 30 percent on creative. The creative (i.e., the catalog) is the brand’s calling card; and
- 20 percent on lists.
In the catalog business, lists and all that circ stuff are just as important (some would even say more) than offer and creative.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.