Bits & Pieces Case Study - Picking Up the Pieces
A Syndicated Prize Draw was offered to selected segments within the U.K.-based mailing, and all buyers were entitled to claim a free kaleidoscope. A total of 1.2 million mailings were sent to previous buyers, charity donors and third-party, mail-order lists.
Another million digest-sized books were used as loose inserts in some of the more upscale U.K. national press and women's magazines—an effective use of alternate media in that country.
A Fantastic Voyage
Results far exceeded the cataloger's expectations, and the vast majority of customer orders were satisfied well in advance of the Christmas deadline, generating profits from both prospects and existing Bits & Pieces customers.
"If you'd told me three years ago that I'd be in this happy position today, I wouldn't have believed you," says Segal. "We're already making plans to enter the German market next year, and who knows where after that."
Notes Millennium's Smith, "The key thing is everyone knows what's going on now. They [Bits & Pieces] have a fully managed customer database with complete trading and mailing histories, and we're working with cost structures that are realistic."
He advises other U.S. catalogers thinking of testing the United Kingdom first as part of a larger European campaign to be sure you work with people who really understand the market and who can put together and manage a workable package.
"If a company is 3,000 or more miles away, it's vital to be able to deal with a one-stop shop, it's very cost-effective (there's no overhead to pay), and it's more reliable," Smith adds.
With the bad aspects of this particular journey behind it, Bits & Pieces' European adventure now is just beginning.
Kevin Lavery is executive creative director of Millennium plc, a U.K. direct response advertising agency. He can be reached at +44 (0) 1274 538888; by fax: +44 (0) 1274 538899; or by e-mail: email@example.com.