September 21, 2009

You Pick The Catalog Strategy!

Strategy #1: Mail a 148 page catalog with your entire merchandise assortment to your housefile.

Strategy #2: Mail four 48 page catalogs, with a unique portion of the merchandise assortment in each catalog. Based on prior purchase history, you choose which customer receives each version of the catalog. Customer can only receive one of the four 48 page catalogs.

Your thoughts? Which strategy has the best potential to generate short-term and long-term sales and profit, and why?


  1. Anonymous8:48 AM

    ugh.. I have a meeting with the marketing vp next week to "discuss" catalog circulation strategy. This post just reminded me about what a quagmire we're in; we're discussing who, but no one ever discusses the very important what and why. What if you believe (have shown) that it's the catalog discount code that generates sales, not the featured merchandise? I would be inclined to choose the catalog strategy that costs the least. Then again, I would also not use such an expensive medium just to get a discount code into my customers' hands, which seems to be what we're doing.

  2. And so, Anonymous, you have landed at the strategic crossroads. How do you inform the business leader who thinks that it is the catalog that matters that, in reality, the customer responds to something else? It is like telling a religious leader that the congregation doesn't respond to sermons anymore, they respond to the fellowship they experience when listening to the sermon.

    Typically, you don't convince somebody by pointing out that their faith-based system is wrong.

    If you are lucky, you can create a postcard with a discount code on it, and use it as a control group against a catalog. Of course, when you are proven right, it may be hard to convince folks, but at least you'd have the satisfaction of knowing you were right.


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