By Alicia Orr Suman
A variety of strategies—including delving deeper into acquisition lists, increasing space advertising and using the Internet—are helping Wolferman's reach its true potential.
Wolferman's catalog was a business with far more potential than was being tapped when Williams Foods purchased it from former parent Sara Lee Corp. in 1999. Steve Trollinger, vice president of Shawnee Mission, Kan. consulting firm J. Schmid & Associates, and someone who has worked with this specialty foods catalog firm since 2000, recalls, "Not only did Wolferman's prior management fail to take advantage of opportunities in building the business from a list perspective, they really were giving away the store, so to speak."
At the time, Wolferman's—which is known for its over-sized english muffins in addition to scones, tea breads, desserts and other gourmet delicacies—was damaging its cost structure by sending out various discount offers to both prospect and customer groups, basically with no rhyme or reason behind the offer strategy.
Offers were not being used judiciously, agrees Laura Brady, general manager of the Wolferman's catalog. Brady, who did a short stint inside parent company Williams Foods' marketing group, was named to run the Wolferman's catalog in 2004.
It was obvious to Brady and her newly appointed marketing team that, with Trollinger's guidance, they had to straighten out the cost structure through more reasonable pricing and offer strategies.
Trollinger explains: "We had to get the discounts in line with what made sense for Wolferman's products and their customers. In the past, the company had been, in a sense, training people to be bad customers, and we had to put a stop to that."
To "right the ship," as Trollinger puts it, Brady and her team charted a course that would better align offer
strategy, prospecting activity and retention efforts to reduce waste and maximize growth opportunities.