Yes, your catalog customer file bifurcated ... with a minority of best customers needing more catalogs and a majority of your total file requiring far fewer catalogs. Go measure the dynamic, you're guaranteed to see it in practice.
In our example, we could go from mailing best catalog customers 20 times per year to 50 times per year.
How many pages should these customers receive?
In our example, customers were receiving 120 pages.
Our optimization table tells a different story.
You run page count optimization tables, right?
Now, the catalog costs in the table are not entirely accurate, nor do they have to be for our example. Your printer and the USPS offer prices that are not linear in nature. However, the point should be "well taken" here.
At 120 pages, an individual catalog generates $1.45 profit.
But at 200 pages, an individual catalog generates $1.71 profit.
In other words, the bifurcation that results in best catalog customers (a minority of your file) needing MORE catalogs per year also results in best catalog customers needing MORE pages per catalog.
Again, your paper rep and your printer should be demanding a presence in your office within 10 minutes of seeing these findings ... if they aren't, ask 'em why they don't want to make more money?
And from your standpoint, this means that your contact strategy is all mucked-up. You need to respond to bifurcation by having a strategy that yields a weekly catalog with many pages, and the pages need to align with the merchandise preferences of the customer. In other words, you feature the stuff at the front of the catalog that is new and your best catalog customers love ... this will likely be different merchandise for different best catalog customers.
What about the bifurcated customers who are no longer interested in catalogs?
More on them tomorrow.