IMAGINE THIS: You print 16 million catalogs a year that are seen by 500 million upscale prospects (average pass-along ratio is 20-to-1), often cooped up for hours with nothing else to read. Annually, 700,000 orders are placed, typically for 2.1 items at a $110 average order size. Oh, yes, a few more eat-your-heart-out ingredients of your catalog business: You warehouse no inventory, you ship nothing, take no returns, and you don't spend a penny on postage or list rental. Two words describe this model: yum-yum.
Should you try both formats? In the annals of great direct marketing companies, fortunes have been made selling with both catalogs and solo packages. Both formats have their place in direct marketing and each serves a specific purpose. Unfortunately, many companies (especially startups) misunderstand the criteria for these formats and make critical strategic mistakes when using them. Likewise, seasoned direct marketers may forget the benefits of one or the other format, ignoring potential profits. Let’s explore both formats and why each of them should be considered in your marketing programs. What Makes a Catalog? A common mistake among start-ups is the belief that the company has