10 Questions for Annual Circulation Planning

Are you beginning to formulate next year’s circulation plan? If the answer is yes, Jim Coogan, president of Santa Fe, NM-based Catalog Marketing Economics, suggests first answering the following questions:

House file issues
1) What is the size of your house buyer file? What is the circulation that will perform above breakeven? How many older buyer names are available for reactivation?
2) How have those buyers responded historically in terms of sales per catalog? Are sales per book trending up or down? What marketing actions are being planned to increase sales per catalog?
3) How frequently can your house buyer file be mailed? What segments of the house file can you mail more often?

Prospect universe issues
4) What is the size of the proven list universe of prospecting names?
5) What plans are there to increase the sales per catalog of the prospecting universe? How are prospecting sales per book trending? Are responses decaying from overmailing? Are you testing and rolling out new prospecting lists?
6) Can the frequency of prospecting be increased? How often can the same prospecting names be mailed to profitably in a year?

Business objectives
7) What are the objectives for the catalog? Maximum sales, maximum profits, or a blend of sales and profit growth?
8) Do you plan to mail all prospects available at or above breakeven, or do you have another prospecting plan?
9) What were the business objectives for the current year, and were those objectives met?
10) Can you support your plans for sales growth or prospect growth with metrics?

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