It's Now in the Cards
Two years since catalog marketers were hammered with a 20 percent-plus postage increase, many continue to reel and retreat. Traditional bulk catalog mailings are becoming unaffordable for many. So, facing up to the economic reality of soaring catalog production and mailing costs, party supplies, toys and novelties cataloger Oriental Trading Co. since last fall has implemented a wide-spreading postcard mailing program targeting primarily its proven customers.
The company's customer base, which consists primarily of teachers and mothers, for years has been highly responsive to its numerous catalog mailings. Customers chosen for the mailings are picked based on the timing of the offer, purchase history and level of web activity.
Oriental Trading's challenge has been to get them to respond to these single-piece, albeit colorful, mailers rather than the full-fledged catalogs they've long since been used to. And so far, it appears that they haven't been dismissing the cards as mere junk mail. Response from the postcards has been as good as traditional catalog prospect mailings, often prompting consumers to go to the OrientalTrading.com website to find what they're looking for.
"We're continuing to learn from what we've done to improve response further," says spokesperson Angela Drew, although the company won't reveal exact figures. To date, the Omaha, Neb.-based company has tested then rolled out 10 different direct mail pieces over the course of eight different drops. Circulation has ranged from several hundred thousand to several million.
The postcards for Oriental Trading's alternative media program promote dollars-off coupons and free shipping based on specified minimum orders. Every postcard has an offer; each has a key code so the company can match it back whether a customer or prospect order over the phone or online.
Among the themes of the offers has been one containing three coupons with savings of $5, $10 and $20, based on corresponding minimum order amounts. Another promotes a special discount offer on bulk novelties. The postcard shown above promotes free shipping, which is based on a specific minimum order amount (Archive code #309-175662-0904).