“Illuminating” Discovery Leads to New Catalog

After business-to-business lightbulb cataloger Top Bulb launched its Website in 2000, the 75-year-old company was surprised to find that 40% of its online buyers were consumers buying for their home. With this new segment of its customer base “illuminated,” the company launched Lighting for the Home, its first consumer catalog, in August 2003. The debut issue mailed to 50,000 prospects and 50,000 house file names.

“When our customer file changed, we likened ourselves to a 7-11 selling only milk,” says president/CEO Philip Bonello, explaining the expansion of the company’s merchandise beyond the b-to-b items still found its Top Bulb catalog and Website. The 72-page consumer catalog features 300 lamps and other lighting fixtures, ranging in price from $7.95 to $2,800. The average price point is $200.

To promote the new catalog, Top Bulb is including a copy with every outgoing order and is advertising in home decor magazines. A second mailing is scheduled for March, when the catalog will be sent to an additional 1 million names rented from other home decorating catalogs that sell to upscale consumers ages 40-60. The second edition will also include more contemporary table lamps and more solar products. “A lot of mailers sell lighting,” Bonello says, “but no one focuses exclusively on it.”

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