Catalog and Direct Selling: Dissect Your Catalog
In the old days, figuring out what changes to make to the next catalog was simpler. “Metrics” referred to the conversion of gallons to liters; “CRM” was a random sample of the alphabet; and “multi-channel” meant that the one TV in the house had clear antenna reception from all three broadcasting companies.
Not so anymore!
Now, to keep pace in the complex game of cataloging, procedures such as the post-mortem analysis are necessary. The purpose of a post mortem is to formally review overall catalog results and incorporate the findings into the next catalog. The post mortem does not replace detailed analysis specific to each department or functional area. Instead, it serves as a summary of the results compared to the budget and to last year, including quantitative and anecdotal data.
To conduct a successful post mortem, schedule the meeting at the end of the catalog order cycle (or the catalog’s end date or the season’s end—whatever works best for your company). Communicate beforehand the benchmarks for comparisons (vs. budget and vs. last year) and request from attendees a single-page summary of observations/recommendations that can be incorporated into the next catalog.
Include in the post mortem meeting key managers whose departments directly or indirectly have customer contact. Generally, this means marketing, merchandising, creative, Internet, call center, distribution center, finance and retail.
The meeting should begin with a general address about the goals for the catalog and the actual performance summary. It should continue with presentations focusing on the following key areas:
Financials. Have the department responsible for forecasting, the profit-and-loss report, and the summary of revenues and expenses provide a single-page report to be distributed at the meeting. You might want to include key metrics, such as circulation, page count, response rate, average order value, gross demand sales, gross demand orders, dollars per book, cancel and return rates, net sales, gross margin, fulfillment cost per order, and the sales ratio among multi-channels specific to the catalog.