DMA Offers Strategic Advice for Mailers

New York—As businesses strive to return to some semblance of normalcy following last week’s terrorist attacks, the Direct Marketing Association has issued a white paper that includes some suggestions for catalogers regarding their marketing plans. Among the tips:

* Consider shipping catalogs directly to sectional center facilities (SCFs). Third class mail is getting backlogged within the postal system, according to a DMA source. Rather than risk having your mailings pile up in bulk mail centers (BMCs), try bypassing them and shipping to the SCFs.

* If you can delay your catalog drop until early or mid-October, do so.

* Consider cutting back on prospecting. Instead mail primarily to past and current customers.

* Begin establishing “creative” plans for reducing inventory. Says one source quoted by the DMA, “Sales strategies that involve discounts or other purchase incentives ought to be carefully examined.”

* Reevaluate your staffing needs. Should the decline in spending last throughout the holiday season, you may not need to bring on as many temporary employees. You may even need to consider laying off some full-time workers.

In trying to project revenue for the remainder of the year, the DMA looks back to the Persian Gulf War. During the months leading up to the military action, according to the DMA, consumer confidence fell more than 30%, and catalog revenue fell 10%-30%. Following the military action, sales rose—but not enough to offset the previous months’ revenue shortfalls.

For the complete white paper, entitled “Economic Impact of the ‘Attack on American’ on U.S. Direct Marketing,” visit the DMA Website at