To spread the word about its telephone headsets, three-and-a-half-year-old marketer Headsets.com mailed its first print catalog in August. The San Francisco-based company sent 90,000 copies to house file and rented names.
Headsets.com targets offices and call centers with office, wireless, and cellular headsets from name brands such as Plantronics and GN Netcom; it also produces a proprietary line of headsets.
Overall, response has been slightly above plan, says president/CEO Mike Faith. “Response from some segments has been lower than what we expected, and some segments higher,” he says. “Some prefer a catalog, and some don’t.” The average order size is $250.
Headsets.com included a coupon for $10 off the first purchase in 10,000 catalogs sent to people who had requested a copy online. The company has also sent out solo mail pieces, such as postcards, fliers, and inserts, to customers and prospects for the past three years, and it will continue such mailings between catalog drops.
Catalog mailings are planned for four to six times a year. The second mailing, in November, went to 200,000 customers and prospects. While the first edition of the catalog measured 9″ × 5-1/2″, this second edition was 8-3/8″ × 5-3/8″. Subsequent books will stick with the slightly smaller size. At press time, a third mailing of 500,000-1 million catalogs was set for January.
Product category: telephone headsets First mailing date: August 2001 Target audience: offices and call centers Frequency: 4-6 times a year Competitor: Hello Direct Average order size: $250 Number of pages: 48 Size: 9″ × 5-1/2″ Telephone: 800-450-7686
Want to zip up your Audi? New catalog Stratmosphere sells aftermarket parts for late-model Audis. After two years selling online, the Rush, NY-based company mailed 20,000 copies of its first catalog in December to customers and rented names.
Stratmosphere products include software to make the car go faster, suspension for shocks and springs, exhaust systems, brakes, car covers, and floor mats, from manufacturers in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. The 12-page catalog offers only about one-third of what is available on the Website. The company will increase the amount of product for sale in the catalog over time, says Stratmosphere co-owner Peter Ryckaert.
At press time, it was too early to measure response, but the company is receiving 100 catalog requests a week on its site. Ryckaert expects the average order size to be the same as that of the Website, $400.
The company plans to hand out catalogs at summer trade shows for Audi products. Stratmosphere is also placing ads in European Car magazine and Audi Quattro Quarterly, and it runs promotions and participates in forums on sites such as www.audiworld.com. It also sends e-mails to its house list at least once a month.
The next catalog mailing is planned for June, with a circulation of 28,000 and an increased page count of 20.
Product category: automotive parts First mailing date: December 2001 Size of distribution: 20,000 Target audience: Audi enthusiasts Frequency: twice a year Competitor: LLtek Motorsports Number of pages: 12 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 866-533-1777
Are you in the market for a wristwatch from World War II? Then you’ll be interested in WarTimers, a new catalog from San Diego-based Sunset Cliffs Merchandising Corp., which publishes the Deutsche Optik catalog of military optics and instruments. WarTimers launched this past October with a 100,000-piece mailing to house file and rented names.
The 16-page catalog sells military watches, clocks, and accoutrements from manufacturers such as Bullova and Elgin. Products include originals, re-creations, and vintage pieces, with some crossover with the Deutsche Optik catalog. The average order size is $300.
Response so far has been below plan, says marketing and advertising manager Pete Alexander, but it indicates a strong market for watches selling for less than $1,000, and solid demand for watches that cost more than $3,000. In the $1,000-$3,000 price range, however, “competition is severe, and the choices are myriad,” Alexander says.
WarTimers did a piggyback mailing with the November/December 2001 issue of International Wristwatch magazine, which has 10,000 subscribers. WarTimers will also run ads this spring in magazines such as American Time and Watch Time.
The next issue will mail in June. The company hopes to at least triple its circulation, adding more rented names. The next catalog will also have more products and run to 20 or 22 pages.
Product category: timepieces First mailing date: October 2001 Size of distribution: 100,000 Frequency: twice a year Competitor: Tourneau Average order size: $300 Number of pages: 16 Size: 8-1/2″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-225-9417
Frecklefarm, a Unionville, PA-based farm, is now also a home accessories catalog. The company printed 10,000 copies of its debut issue, 2,000 of which it mailed this past July to rented names in affluent zip codes. The rest were mailed to respondents to space ads in Victoria and Country Living magazines. Articles in those publications generated requests as well.
Frecklefarm sells handmade home accessories, such as lamps, bowls, baskets, and quilts. Prices in the 16-page catalog range from $36 to $400; the average order is $105. Frecklefarm owner Robin Sherwood writes the catalog in diary form, giving each edition a different theme and title. The first issue was called Settling In; the next edition, titled Beauty, will mail in March to 8,000 house file names.
The response rate from catalog requestors has been above plan, says Sherwood. The company does not do large mailings at one time but instead sends out catalogs as requests come in and mails its house file names each new edition.
The second issue will feature new products such as jewelry and gloves. Frecklefarm is considering doing a holiday decorating and gifts edition this year and may add furniture to its product line in the future.
Product category: home accessories First mailing date: July 2001 Size of distribution: 2,000 Target audience: affluent women ages 38-60 Frequency: twice a year Competitors: French Country Living, Plow & Hearth Average order size: $105 Number of pages: 16 Size: 8″ × 10″ Telephone: 800-481-6337