Unlike in the consumer catalog sector, if someone requests a business-to-business catalog, he or she is likely to be seriously interested in making a purchase. After all, few people riffle through an office supplies catalog the same way they do, say, a Victoria’s Secret catalog.
Yet when Bill Ruppert, president of Southlake, TX-based consulting firm ResponseB2B, requested catalogs from 141 mailers in May 2000 as part of a study, 61 of them — 43% — never responded. The following May, he requested catalogs from the same 141 companies, and more than half — 75, or 53% — failed to send him a catalog.
Stamford, CT-based list firm MeritDirect sponsored the b-to-b catalog request study. Rupert seeded the requests by changing his company name, personal name, suite number, and phone number to track mailing behavior. During the second year, Ruppert requests catalogs from an additional 14 mailers as well as the original 141.
Among other findings: 35% of the catalogers from which Ruppert requested catalogs mailed more books in the second year than they did in the first. Slightly more than half sent fewer catalogs — reflecting the slowing economy, perhaps.
The following charts highlight more of the study’s findings.
|Mailings received per cataloger||Number of mailers|
|Year 1||Year 2|
|NUMBER OF MAILERS||% CHANGE|
|Sent more catalogs||31||35%|
|Sent the same||11||13%|
|Sent fewer catalogs||46||52%|
|MAILER||NUMBER OF MAILINGS YEAR 1||NUMBER OF MAILINGS YEAR 2|
|Airgas Rutland Tools||11||8|
|Atlas Pen & Pencil||10||1|
|Parkway Business Promotions||9||11|