A Mini Gift Guide With Lots of Impact
Ever run short of great gift ideas? Things Remembered, the Cleveland-based personalized gift retailer, sure doesn't. The company's direct mail pieces range from postcards showcasing two or three items to catalogs that feature page after page of gifts for all occasions. During this past graduation season, the company mailed a piece that offered both the convenience of small scale with the product selection of a mini catalog. Mailed in June, the six-page, 8-3/4" x 5-1/4" 2006 Grad Gift Guide is slim, but features dozens of items, from clocks and desk accessories to jewelry and photo frames (Archive code #910-175003-0606A).
The package, with images of happy grads throughout, initially looks like an envelope, but opens smoothly via a glued, easy-to-open seal to reveal page after page of products displayed across desks and on walls. Product descriptions are kept to a minimum of item name, SKU and price. Brief copy highlights the importance of marking this special occasion with the graduate in your life. The small size is easy to handle and instantly offers up a slew of gift options, whether the graduate is male or female, has just finished high school or is ready to take on his or her first job.
However, it's not only the well-crafted design or seasonable nature of the piece that makes it effective. It's the ability of Things Remembered to target the mailing to specific customers and include the most appropriate selection of products to those customers that sets this direct mail effort apart. The company uses occasion-specific modeling combined with product-level information and channel-specific information to predict which customers are likely to purchase and re-purchase for a specific occasion; it then designs and deploys its mailings accordingly.
In the case of gifts for graduates, these fall into the general consumer category, which is Things Remembered's largest customer segmentthe company also focuses on wedding and business categories. Other general consumer categories include Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthdays and other holidays. Working with its database provider, the retailer develops occasion-specific models to determine who to market to for a particular occasion, such as graduation, based on customers' prior purchase history, according to Terry Mulhern, former vice president of marketing for Things Remembered. The modeling is in part based on data gathered on a daily basis from all the company's channels: retail, online and mail. What occasion a purchase is for is the most important piece of information gathered during this process, according to Mulhern. Promotional tracking information, such as which promotions particular customers have been sent and which ones they have responded to, also is incorporated into the modeling. The results of these modeling exercises then guide which customers get specific mailings, such as the 2006 Grad Gift Guide.
Another piece of the puzzle is customer information gathered at the point of sale, which is used to determine the product mix included in a direct mail effort. This information on which products are purchased for which occasions enables the company to drill down to find out precisely which SKUs are popular gift items for different events. This data is used to develop the product mix included in direct mail pieces, like the Grad Gift Guide.
In essence, this guide reflects the culmination of the retailer's marketing strategy, which helps it find the right customer for the right occasion and put the right items in front of him or hera strategy that has helped Things Remembered become a successful enterprise, with more than $300 million in sales, and gain some 7 million active customers.