The Joys of a Separate Prospecting Catalog

You should have a different prospect catalog that is different from the one you send to your customers – even in business-to-business.

A smaller prospecting catalog can sometimes reduce acquisition costs by at least 25%, said Merit Direct vice president of database strategy Dan Harding. This especially holds true if you produce a customer book that weighs more than 3.3 oz.

At a session last week at MeritDirect’s business mailer’s co-op, Harding said that today only about 10% of catalogers is doing this, 40% of catalogers are sending the same catalog to prospects, but with a cover offer, an additional 10% with a deep cover discount, and 10% with different pages and a discount. The other 30% prospect with the same catalog that they send to established customers.

“This is too much trouble for most direct marketers, but creating a separate prospect book can open a lot of possibilities,” Harding said. He offered the following tips for doing this:

  • Include only “first order” products, or items your target customers would most likely be looking for.
  • Remove minor products. If it’s an item your prospect can get through your competition, he won’t buy it from you.
  • Do more to explain and demonstrate key products. The prospect may have seen an item in a competitor’s catalog and not have realized it is something he or she needs.
  • Consider a smaller version weighing less than 3.3 ounces. After all, you are looking to save money on prospecting.
  • Test an incentive on the front cover. If your prospect is not as loyal to the competition, he or she may be persuaded by a 20% off order for first time buyers. Or if you give an incentive for first and second purchases, the prospect would become a customer.
  • Try using regular price cross-outs to show prospects the value of your catalog.

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