As I write this, most catalogers are in the final stages of constructing their holiday marketing and circulation plans. Here are a few of the top issues and concerns I hear from marketers as they prepare for this most important season:
The most common question: What’s the economy going to be like for holiday?
Unfortunately, this is also the most “unanswerable” of them all!
The most interesting question: What’s the best mix of catalog, Web and e-mail promotions for my business?
Now we’re getting somewhere. With the right historical data, many mailers are constructing ever better answers to this question.
The most actionable question: What can I do to improve the response – both online and offline – to my catalog and Web promotions?
Now you’re talking! Even in our increasingly complex multichannel, multipromotional, multi-touch environment, there are many things we all can do to ensure the success of holiday promotions.
Here are just a few:
- Do all that you can to maximize net names: strategically scheduling multibuyer and co-op database mailings to minimize duplication; making expanded use of back-end co-op models when available, etc.
- Make sure that your list selections reflect what’s going on in your catalog and in your business: If your business is Web-based, select more Web buyers. If not, maybe you should test suppressing Web only buyers. Make more and better use of product selects when appropriate.
- Increase your use of Models: zip models, co-op database models, custom one-to-one-list models for larger files.
- Try to mail into the most productive mail dates for your business: Keep in mind that the business gets later every year. Early December in-home dates have become a very profitable part of a holiday mailing plan.
- And most important, make sure that you have fully integrated your catalog, Web, and retail campaigns: That means integrated messages, an integrated merchandise point of view, and integrated branding
This doesn’t mean everything needs to be the same, but every channel must all give your consumers the same view of your company.
As our busineses become ever more complex, it’s important not to forget the fundamentals: the right merchandise, at the right price, to the right audience, at the right time. If you keep your eye on the ball, you’ll be positioned to succeed in the new direct marketing ballgame.
Steve Tamke is senior vice president of Hackensack, NJ-based list firm Mokrynskidirect