Smaller Circ Better for Human-i-Tees

Through an aggressive regression analysis, Valhalla, NY-based Human-i-Tees has seen its response rate jump 30% during the past year. And even though the cataloger of T-shirts and gifts for school fundraisers slashed its circulation from 600,000 copies to 200,000, sales still increased 6%.

Working with Shelton, CT-based Market Data Retrieval, a provider of compiled lists for the educational market, Human-i-Tees analyzed its house file and rented lists in hopes of reducing its prospecting mailings. Results showed that most of its buyers were now PTA organizers rather than teachers. Therefore, Human-i-Tees “didn’t need to mail catalogs to as many teachers in schools as we used to,” says president/CEO Lori Genaro.

This change caps a three-year reinvention of sort for Human-i-Tees. Prior to fall 2000, the company had mailed up to 2 million catalogs a drop to teachers and administrators at the country’s 108,000 public and private schools. But by mailing multiple copies of catalogs to schools to different teachers and administrators, “we felt we were competing with ourselves,” Genaro says. “We also realized that the catalog was only one part of the selling process—and not a closer for us.”

Beginning with the fall 2000 mailing, Human-i-Tees reduced circulation from the millions to the hundreds of thousands. “We decided to use the catalog as a lead generation tool,” Genaro says, “as opposed to a direct mail campaign and sale closer. The catalog might attract customers’ attention, but now when our sales reps call, they bring the rest of it to life.” The company employs 26 inhouse sales reps as well as 80 outside distributors.

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