Catalog and Internet marketers historically have pooh-poohed the use of customer research. The reasons for this disdain are numerous. Here are some of the excuses I’ve heard: • We don’t need it. • Research won’t tell us anything we don’t know already. • It’s too expensive. • Direct marketing is really better than research; let’s just test and read the results. But thinking about research is changing. Direct marketers always have prided themselves on knowing and understanding the analytical side of their business. They know what happened with every mail or e-mail campaign and can accurately spew metrics on direct mail, catalog mailings, Web performance, search engine optimization
Direct marketing testing can be a controversial topic. While some multichannel marketers never make a creative, offer or timing change without extensive testing and retesting, others stay away from testing because they find it is too difficult to plan and execute. The truth is that testing in catalog, Internet and e-mail campaigns is difficult and expensive. Compare multichannel testing to a solo mailing test and you become green with envy. In a solo, you can test price, offer, copy platform, outer envelope teaser, reply envelope color or even product by simply replacing one insert, letter, brochure or envelope with another. How do you test catalog pricing
In today’s multichannel selling environment, there are a number of important analytical metrics that every direct marketer needs to know and constantly measure. Among them: • What is the value of your customer list—today and projected for the next three years? • What does it cost to recruit or acquire a new customer? and • What is your “payback” period—that is the time it takes for a new customer to become profitable? These are critical measurements of the financial health of a company. Let’s look at ways to value your customer list, and home in on the specific customer metric of
By Jack Schmid The fourth quarter is critical for many catalogers. Indeed, performance in this last stretch may well determine the outcome of your year-end profitability. As such, blunders committed during the fall season can have a negative impact on your bottom line. As you gear up for the fourth quarter, avoid these common mistakes. Not testing and promoting offers. Offers are one of the most important aspects to test. Will free shipping and handling out perform a free gift or no offer at all? Is a discount better than a gift certificate? What kind of gain do you need to pay for each
by Jack Schmid Imagine, if you will, that a family is thinking about purchasing a new computer. How valuable would it be for a catalog marketer like Dell, Gateway or Compaq to know this information? What if every cataloger could know the time when a prospective customer is ready to purchase a product? There is little doubt that we could see double, triple or 10 times normal response rates if we could use the "when" factor. Catalogers are generally lucky just to know the "who" information that is in their customer database, relying on RFMP (recency, frequency, monetary and product category) information
By Jack Schmid A highly segmented product category that has been very strong during the past few years is decorative home furnishings. Unfortunately, the challenge of offering and selling all types of home products, especially larger furniture items like sofas, chairs, convertible sofabeds and ottomans via catalogs is something at which all art directors are not equally adept. A furniture catalog has multiple challenges to meet in its copy. Not only must the catalog get customers to take action—no small task itself—but it must also provide them guidance in selecting the right frame or item configurations and matching them with the right
by Jack Schmid & Scott Busch In survey after survey, catalog owners identify building an efficient and cost-effective method of new customer acquisition as one of their main challenges. Whether you are a consumer, business, retail or hybrid (b-to-b and consumer) mailer, the growing popularity of direct response and cataloging as selling channels has resulted in a number of problems in the prospecting area. Among them: • Rental lists are consistently generating lower response than five or 10 years ago. The old standard—2 percent to almost any response list—is history. • Lower response results in a higher cost per new customer—something that has a
by Jack Schmid In almost every survey taken during the past decade, catalogers have consistently mentioned the rising cost of paper, printing and mailing (including postage) as a major area of concern. And we see no trend that will lessen this concern. If it isn't postage cost increases, it's paper. Catalogers are forced to find innovative ways to reduce the cost of their catalogs in the mail—or any cost increase will come right out of the bottom line. What is the right answer? Should you: • Raise your prices to reflect the cost increase? • Find a new printer who can print for less?