Alicia Orr Suman

Alicia Orr Suman
Ethnic Market Access

Across America’s cities and towns, the general populations are shifting to a more ethnically diverse mix. A new report in December 2005 by the Center for Immigration Studies found that U.S. immigration is at peak levels; 7.9 million people moved to the United States in the past five years. Current U.S. Census numbers place 39.9 million Hispanic-Americans in the continental United States, or about 13.7 percent of the population. Other ethnic populations are at high levels, as well: African-Americans now account for more than 12 percent of U.S. residents. Using insert media to reach ethnic markets provides both good targeting and a low cost per thousand

Room to Grow

Highlights for Children was a 43-year-old magazine with a strong brand before marketing any other offerings to its core customers: parents of young children. In 1946, Dr. Garry Cleveland Myers and his wife Caroline Clark Myers founded Highlights for Children Inc. The privately-held company flourished with a single product—Highlights for Children® magazine—throughout four full decades before deciding it was time to grow its brand and its business. Today, Highlights for Children Inc. houses under its corporate umbrella several kids’ book club programs, a toy and game catalog, and an interactive Web site. “We are now much more than a single magazine for children.

Prospecting Push

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

Behind Time Interactive’s Curtain

This publisher is selling magazine subscriptions through an Internet model that seems to be working—even though it’s not a ‘free for all’ With rare exception, magazines and newspapers have struggled with the concept of charging for their online content ever since publishers started doing business on the Internet more than a decade ago. An underlying problem existed in that it had been taken for granted by most consumers that the heart and soul of the “information superhighway” was the idea that Web content should be free and available to all. Thus, the whole idea of charging for editorial content online has been a difficult

Balancing Act

Special Olympics focuses on long-term donor value while continuing to invest in acquisition Having an eye toward long-term donor value means you can’t just focus on getting good response to your next mailing campaign. You have to think in terms of donor lifecycles—from first-time renewals through retention and even to recapturing lapsed or dormant donors. As Joan Wheatley, vice president of donor development for Special Olympics Inc., knows, any one of these existing donor segments with whom you’ve established a relationship is likely to have a higher lifetime value than a batch of just-acquired names. For example, when it comes to renewal mailings, Special

Market Focus: Elementary School Teachers

Reach Those Who Teach Elementary school teachers are responsible for making their classrooms conducive to learning. While the school districts may supply the textbooks and the desks, it’s the teachers who purchase much of the other materials for their classes—including workbooks, educational toys and videos. They also buy things to make the classroom a happy and bright place—items such as job charts, weather calendars and ABC posters. “Teachers control some school funds and spend some of their own money on school supplies, as well,” explains John Jeffery, president of ClassroomDirect and Sax Arts & Crafts, both divisions of School Specialty, a Greenville, WI-based

The General Contractor

By Alicia Orr Suman If you want to reach a general contractor, chances are you won't find him in his office. In all likelihood, he's working out of his truck. That's the busy nature of the business—especially right now; home construction is at its highest level in 17 years, according to an article titled "Building the Perfect Career" in The Philadelphia Inquirer in October. The recent home-building and home-remodeling boom means general contractors are making money. It also means they're spending a good deal—on items from tools and equipment, lumber, and other supplies to office products and computers. To sell to this market,

How to Buy FSIs

By Alicia Orr Suman Open the Sunday paper and out pour pages of coupons and sales circulars—including offers from traditional direct marketers: collectibles, personalized products and credit cards, to name a few. But just how do direct marketers get their offers into this wide-reaching and relatively affordable medium? What to Buy More than 60 million free-standing inserts, or FSIs, circulate in newspapers every week. Because of their huge circulation, this medium reaches a significant percentage of the population, at home, with the Sunday newspaper. "The vehicle is well used by many marketers," confirms Lois Attisani, senior account executive at the brokerage and management

TM0803_Market Focus, Pet Owners

By Alicia Orr Suman Ask a dog lover to name his family members and he'll likely include Fido along with his wife and kids. "That's the nature of the pet owner," says Geoff Walker, CEO of, an Internet seller of pet food and other pet products. Particularly when it comes to dogs and cats, pets are seen as part of the family, and as such, people want the best for their pets—from toys and treats to food and healthcare. Last year, the Pet Food Institute reported there were more than 75 million pet

Why Use a Traditional Lettershop?

By Alicia Orr Suman It used to be that a lettershop was where you turned to get your mailing out the door and to the post office. These days, your printer may offer some of the same services. So when does it make sense to stick with a lettershop to do your mail preparation? Complex Packages A traditional lettershop may be better for more complex mailing projects, according to Kathy Johnston, creative services manager, J. Schmid & Company. In her experience, one-stop printers are great at "simple and quick lettershop work." For example, she says you may want to use a one-stop printer

Good (not cheap) Telemarketing

By Alicia Orr Suman Have telemarketers gotten nicer? As a member of the direct marketing community, I have not put my name on the state Do-Not-Call (DNC) list. And I've noticed of late an increased level of politeness from the people who call me on the phone to sell some product or service. Is this my imagination? The answer to that question isn't really important. But it raises a point: With fewer names in their calling pools—as a result of more Americans asking that their names be put on DNC lists—telemarketers should be doing all they can to make sure every call is

Hanover Direct's Brand New Focus

Hanover Direct Had Nearly Drowned Among Too Many Properties, But its Focus is Clear Now: A New Merchandising Strategy that Concentrates on Core Brands. By Alicia Orr Suman Focus. That's what was lacking at Hanover Direct, says Tom Shull, president and CEO of the company. Hanover Direct, nearly insolvent when Shull took the helm two-and-a half years ago, at one time had 22 businesses. To get out of debt, Hanover shed catalogs and other businesses, and concentrated on growing its strongest brands. Shull, a turnaround specialist who had worked on the revitalizations of both Barneys and Macy's, says it was a

Orr's April Column - Sampling's Power

By Alicia Orr Suman Try it, you'll like it. As the mother of a 5-week-old infant, I am a prime prospect for all kinds of offers—-from car seats and crib bedding (Pottery Barn Kids loves me) … to diapers and formula. With a newborn in the household, I've had no choice but to purchase many of these things. The question isn't will I buy, but what brands will I buy? With this scenario in mind, maybe it's time for another look at sampling. Stan Rapp and Thomas Collins wrote in "The New MaxiMarketing": "That old marketing standby, sampling,

Software Knowing When to Upgrade

By Alicia Orr Suman How do you know when it's time to upgrade your fulfillment software? Of course, looking at the number of orders processed by your distribution center is the first consideration. But it's a more complicated issue than that. Expansion into new markets or new business channels such as the Web also may necessitate a more sophisticated software system. Then there are other factors specific to your business to consider. To determine whether you should pursue a software upgrade, first take a look at your operation's current business processes. As a mailer that recently went through a software upgrade, Daryle Scott, president

Try It, You'll Like It

By Alicia Orr Suman As the mother of a 5-week-old infant, I am a prime prospect for all kinds of offers—-from car seats and crib bedding (Pottery Barn Kids loves me) … to diapers and formula. With a newborn in the household, I've had no choice but to purchase many of these things. The question isn't will I buy, but what brands will I buy? With this scenario in mind, maybe it's time for another look at sampling. Stan Rapp and Thomas Collins wrote in "The New MaxiMarketing": "That old marketing standby, sampling, when done properly, can still be very effective. It's surprising