The article mentions digital direct marketing as an alternative to catalog marketing. When you have a retail presence, it is much easier to go down this path, and sometimes it is more profitable to go down this path.
If you're a traditional cataloger, without a retail presence, life is more challenging. One of the things we have to do is more testing --- testing what happens when we combine catalog marketing with e-mail marketing.
Check out the sample test results, measured over a three month period of time to customers who receive both catalogs and e-mail marketing campaigns.
This is the style of test our industry can capitalize on. We compare combinations of catalog marketing contacts and e-mail marketing contacts, searching for the most profitable strategy. In this case, receiving two catalogs over the course of a quarter, coupled with a weekly e-mail marketing strategy, is most profitable.
Notice that this strategy doesn't yield the best result, in terms of total sales volume.
Also notice that sending no catalogs, and no e-mails, still causes customers to spend money. This might be the most important metric for you to obtain --- what percentage of volume happens if you don't execute any traditional direct marketing (catalog / e-mail)? Do you know this percentage? It's an awfully important one to know.
Where are we heading: We will slowly back off on traditional direct marketing --- and we will re-invest the advertising dollars we save in untested online marketing strategies. And over time, we'll identify online micro-channels that recoup the sales we lose by cutting back on catalog marketing, and we'll be more profitable!