A Pre-emptive Strike
From time to time, companies must adapt and evolve to keep up with an ever-changing marketplace. Sometimes that means entering a new platform such as social media, and other times it means reinventing oneself.
With the dramatic changes in the catalog industry over the past few years, recognition awards cataloger Baudville looked itself in the mirror and decided it was time for a makeover. So in May, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based cataloger mailed its last book from its traditional brand with plans to drop a reinvented, rebranded catalog July 13. But prior to that, Baudville had to keep its customers interested and intrigued.
"We had a wrap on that catalog the end of May saying something new was coming," shares Tom Tweedie, vice president of marketing for Baudville. "We then did not mail for six weeks, which is a huge amount of time for us not to be in the mail. We generally mail every 10 days. During that black period, we had some emails out there teasing that this new thing is coming."
Baudville created mystery around what this new thing would be. All customers knew was that something was coming, but they weren't sure what. Then in late June, Baudville unveiled about 100,000 mailings of its rebranded catalog teaser, the "Do It Daily" brand reintroduction. Sent to its 24-month and in some cases 36-month buyers-made up of B-to-B prospects, particularly targeting the human resource department-the mailer arrived in-home on June 22 in a 5¼˝ x 7¼˝ clear envelope with Baudville's rebranded theme, "DO IT DAILY" showing through on the back with the copy "BAUDV!LLE THE PLACE FOR DAILY RECOGNITION" showing through on the front (Archive code #811-178394-0906).
The mailer contains seven place cards, each with a "DO IT" phrase-i.e., "DO IT WITH EASE" and "DO IT NOW MORE THAN EVER"-on one side and info on Baudville's products and new site on the other. The first card serves somewhat like a letter, detailing the importance of daily recognition in the workplace and teasing the 250 all-new products Baudville developed for its catalog. The next five cards show images of products along with descriptions and pricing, and each card has both the Baudville.com website and the company's 800-number in the bottom right corner. The final card has a direct call to action, urging recipients to visit Baudville.com to shop the new products and enter the coupon code "JULY 2009" to get a 20 percent discount, with an expiration date of July 10, three days before the launch of the rebranded catalog.
"We generally don't do a lot of offers, so this is really something a little bit different for us," details Tweedie. "The idea was to get this piece out there, before the catalog hit on July 13. All the same people would be getting the catalog, so we wanted to give them an initial look ... trying to have fun with the new color palette, the new look and feel of the brand, the edgy copy."
Because the mailing was a one-time, special mailing, Tweedie is looking at results a little differently than simply putting all his stock in how many people redeemed the coupon or bought the new products. "I know I'm probably not going to get the cost per piece or sales per piece the way I would out of a catalog," he admits. "What was the exposure we got to the new products? What are we hearing on the phone as far as people's impressions of the brand?"
Baudville is still evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign, but Tweedie says the company was really excited about the mailer. It may send more "fun pieces" like this one to its top customers.
Tweedie adds, "Credit to my in-house design folks. ... We're looking to keep staying on the edge with products, with messaging and stay around for another 25 years."