Save Money on Your Fulfillment Kits
July 19, 2006

Knowing your audience is a direct marketing basic and is key to saving you money on your fulfillment kits. Your first step in assessing your kit should be determining your goal: new sale, incremental business, customer/prospect awareness. With your goal in mind, develop fulfillment materials that communicate the right information in the most cost-efficient manner to drive the desired response. “Most cost savings are coming from the appropriate use of appropriate materials. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. When companies fail to appropriately segment their audience, they print, produce and ship non-relevant items, which cost money,”

Multicultural Special Report: Shore Up Your Back-end
May 1, 2006

More than 20 years ago, only a small group of very progressive companies and nonprofit organizations used direct mail to penetrate the Hispanic market. Most of these “pioneer” companies naively allocated the majority of their resources to the front-end processes of market identification, list selection, copy and creative, and print production, and paid little attention to back-end operations. Today, although more companies are targeting the Hispanic market, many still do not have the necessary back-end infrastructure. Back-end operations designed to address the needs of Hispanic customers are key to developing lasting relationships in this market. Understand the Differences Within the Market To build strong

Global Distribution Strategies
November 1, 2004

A look at how two direct marketers fulfill products overseas You’ve spent countless hours and dollars on your promotional marketing efforts and have succeeded in pulling in orders. Now it’s time to make good on your offer and fulfill the order. Not only do you have to contend with the intricacies of fulfillment, but you must decide how you are going to transport your product overseas and do it cost-efficiently. There is no sure-fire way to save on the back end of international direct marketing. How you fulfill largely depends on the product you are shipping and your allowable turnaround time. Here’s a

Fulfillment Special Report: Fulfillment’s Role in Customer-centric Contact Strategies
November 1, 2004

It’s no secret that it costs considerably less to get a sale from an existing customer than from a prospect. But, according to Comac, a fulfillment company in Milpitas, Calif., customer-centric marketing in the B-to-B world also reduces overall sales costs by improving client retention; enhances profitability by expanding relationships with current clients; and creates new revenue streams via client referrals. Customer-centric communications require depth of knowledge about your customers both individually and by segment; this data then can be leveraged through technologies that allow direct marketers to tailor contact in offline and online channels. Your fulfillment vendor plays a significant role in your customer- centric efforts,

Fulfillment Special Report: In-store Returns ... Sales Opportunities in Disguise
November 1, 2004

One in four consumers who return an item purchased online to a retail outlet will make another purchase while in the store, reports Shop.org and Forrester Research in “The State of Retailing 7.0.” The annual study also notes that 87 percent of retailers accept in-store returns of online purchases, evidence, says the report’s authors, that channel integration is becoming a growing priority for multichannel marketers. This data supports the observations made by the etailing group, a Chicago-based e-commerce consultancy, in its Mystery Shopping report on the 2003 holiday sales season. Earlier this year, the etailing group reported that, based on its experiences returning items

Fulfillment Special Report: iRobot Simplifies Web Fulfillment
July 1, 2004

Challenge: iRobot, maker of Roomba Robotic FloorVacs, wanted an online store for the 2003 holiday season, but without the complexity of integrating back-end operations among multiple vendors. Solution: Use a single-source provider for Web site development, fulfillment and customer service. Results: The site, irobotstore.com, was completed in 30 days, calls per order decreased, and iRobot saved the soft costs associated with vendor coordination. While iRobot creates robotic products for a variety of uses, such as archaeological digs and landmine countermeasures, the company is best known for its patented floor-cleaning robot, Roomba. Until last fall, the line of Roomba Robotic FloorVacs and accessories was sold primarily through stores, such

Fulfillment Special Report: Internet Fulfillment ... a.k.a. Revenue
July 1, 2004

The Internet-based fulfillment environment allows all communication between the fulfillment partner, marketer and customer to be consistent and timely, which ensures customer satisfaction and reinforces the business relationship. But what does it take to get to this seamless transfer of operations-critical information? And how might Internet fulfillment affect a marketer’s bottom line? Impact on Accounting The Internet can play a vital role in the integration of fulfillment program data relative to both marketer and customer activity. Ancillary functions—such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and general accounting—need to be integrated into the Internet fulfillment process to provide access to data necessary to reconcile orders

Fulfillment Special Report: Godiva.com Sweetens Gift-giving with Personalized Greeting Card
April 1, 2004

Giving a gift is a personal gesture that can convey many different sentiments. Expressing the right sentiment is important to both the giver and the recipient. Few companies understand this need better than Godiva, a marketer of premium chocolates for whom gifts make up the majority of its business. Naturally, the top selling seasons for Godiva are holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. But the chocolates purveyor also is looking to grow its share of market in what Beth Brown, the firm’s interactive director, calls “everyday gift occasions,” such as birthdays and thank-you gifts. One strategy the company has implemented to

Fulfillment Special Report: Just 1 Question
April 1, 2004

Target Marketing: Where do companies’ returns-management programs fail to meet customers’ expectations, and how can they fix those weaknesses? Michael Smith, vice president, Retail Business Solutions at Newgistics Inc.: Traditionally, product returns have been viewed as a “necessary cost of doing business,” and returns management was an afterthought. Many marketers handle returns as individual transactions and fail to consider the entire “returns process,” which begins at the point of sale. In this context, product returns create two key business problems: • First, returns are a hassle for customers, resulting in dissatisfaction, attrition and lost revenue. • Second, returns are costly to process; it’s four

Fulfillment Special Report: The Demands of Literature Fulfillment
April 1, 2004

Why and When to Outsource Your Operation Speed and agility mean everything in today’s market, which is why companies large and small are evaluating whether it makes sense to outsource their literature fulfillment process. It’s a particularly big issue in the B-to-B sector where manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors often incorporate significant non-catalog literature into their direct marketing programs. If you’re making a fulfillment outsourcing decision, here are several trigger points that could mean you need a better solution: 1) Is your internal fulfillment world-class? Would another company hire you to perform this service? 2) Are you experiencing excessive obsolescence because of an inability to