Contest triples Spiegel’s response

Dec 01, 1999 10:30 PM  By

Spiegel wasn’t playing around with its test-mailing of a game promotion. The general merchandise catalog received triple the response from certain segments of its audience following a May mailing that included a peel-off game bound into the book. In fact, the test was so successful, the $587 million Spiegel catalog division repeated it in November. (Results of this test were not available at press time.)

In its May customer reactivation test, Spiegel bound the contest into 600,000 issues of a 104-page, all-apparel spring edition of its core catalog. Customers had to peel off a label on the cover, then look inside to see whether they had won $5, $15, or $20 gift certificates, or $1,000 cash. (All 600,000 recipients of the promotional book won at least a $5 certificate.) In the A-B split test, another 600,000 customers received the same catalog without the contest.

The May test “was tremendous in terms of generating orders,” says sales promotion manager Stephanie Wimberly. She adds, however, that “average orders weren’t as high as we had hoped for; the control group that didn’t receive the game spent a bit more per order than the other group.” Still, the increase in response “overshadowed the decrease in average order size,” she says. Wimberly won’t specify the average order sizes, although she does reveal that the overall response to the May contest mailing was 3%.

To increase average orders from catalogs with the game in the November test, the Downers Grove, IL-based cataloger mailed to more of its very best customers, says John Fernandez, the president of Media Magnets, a Chicago-based promotional contest developer that worked with Spiegel. Fernandez also encouraged Spiegel to include more expensive merchandise in the catalog than it did in the May mailing. “Lower-priced merchandise will give you a lower average order” in a game or contest, he says. Spiegel “needs more $30, $40, $50, and $60 items, and fewer $10 and $20 items.”

Wimberly says the cost of binding the peel-off covers and the four-page inserts was “a little more” than that of a typical bind-in. Fernandez says that translates to less than 5 cents per catalog more.

Fernandez hopes Spiegel will try the game again in the spring with some prospecting names. But Wimberly says she will wait to see how response to the November book plays out before deciding how to use the contest in future catalogs.