Like a baseball team general manager tinkering with his roster, Bethel, CT-based sports memorabilia marketer Star Struck this spring added three professional baseball team catalogs to its lineup.
In addition to its core 100-page Star Struck/ProTeam book and a 32-page New York Mets catalog of licensed products, the company mailed 20-page specialty catalogs to season-ticket holders and other fans of the Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, and Pittsburgh Pirates. The catalogs dropped the second week of March to coincide with spring training.
Star Struck mailed 100,000-150,000 copies of each team catalog, says chief operating officer Jason Scheets. The company’s total catalog circulation is increasing 33% this year, to about 2 million from about 1.5 million catalogs mailed last year.
Early returns from the three spin-offs suggest a home run. Star Struck was expecting a 2% response rate from the team catalogs but is seeing a 2.5%-3% response, Scheets says. “We were hoping for a big response, and we got it,” he says, particularly from Mets and Orioles fans.
Merchandise in the catalogs range from replica jerseys from the company’s new Cooperstown Collection, which sell for $179.95, to men’s and women’s apparel and collectibles. Accessories include shot glasses with the team’s logo and “bobble head” statuettes, which sell for $29.95 and are among the most popular items. The average order is $69.
A team effort
The Brewers, Orioles, and Pirates catalogs are near blueprints of what the company did with its New York Mets team catalog last year. “We work directly with the team’s marketing staff for direction,” Scheets says. This includes determining which current athletes and past stars the organization wants to publicize.
Most of the baseball teams have tried to mail their own catalogs or took part in direct marketing efforts with credit-card companies, such as MBNA, for cobranded credit-card promotions with the team logo. “So all those names are already in their database,” Scheets notes. The teams supply 80% of the names for the mailings, with the remainder coming from Star Struck. The cataloger can segment its database by favorite team based on past purchases.
Assuming that response remains strong, the company will remail the catalogs around July. Scheets is treading carefully regarding future spin-offs, however, because he doesn’t want the company to overextend itself. Star Struck already has its hands full supplying all of the inventory and handling the customer service for the four team catalogs.