Denny’s Daily Zinger: Are Print Catalogs Dead? No!

Click to enlarge the image of Uline's catalog.

Have a look at the photo to see the cover of ULINE’s Spring/Summer 2014 catalog—628 pages offering “over 29,000 packaging, shipping, industrial and janitorial products, ready to ship today.”
My guess: It cost $2 in the mail.

I do not believe I have ever placed a single order with Uline, and yet I have been receiving these behemoths for more than 30 years.

The obvious conclusion: Uline’s accountants use an abacus.

The Mantra of Print Catalogs
By the turn of the 20th century, the Sears Roebuck catalog put a giant department store on the bookshelves of millions of hinterland homes.

Fast forward to 2014 and the mantra is, “Why print a catalog when everything is available online?”

According The Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Holmes, catalog mailings are increasing. The reason: “Shoppers spend more online after browsing through lavish print spreads.”

The Old Rules Still Apply

  • Send print catalogs.
  • Make it easy to order—by mail, online or phone.
  • Track customers.
  • Track orders by source.
  • Recency, frequency, monetary value (RFM) are the measurements.
  • Divide your customers into quintiles. Q#1 is your best customers; mail them most frequently.
  • Quintile No. 5 are poorest.
  • The challenge: Move Quintile No. 2 people up to Quintile No. 1 and Quintile No. 3 up to Quintile No. 2. Etc.
  • “Wanna make money this quarter? Don’t mail the 5th quintile. —Bob Hacker

Takeaway to Consider
Note to Uline: If Denny Hatch has not bought after 30 years of sending catalogs, delete him from your list.

Denny Hatch is a copywriter, designer and direct marketing consultant. His most recent book is “Write Everything Right!” Click here for the Kindle Edition. Contact him at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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