July 21, 2019

It's Coming

In my catalog-centric presentations this year, there is one theme that, when shared, leaves folks flummoxed.

The theme is "bifurcation". In catalog marketing, it's the splitting of the file into two pieces ... one (old school catalog buyer) requires +/- 40 catalogs per year. The other, and much larger fraction of the file, is the "brand buyer" ... they buy because they like your merchandise and they couldn't care less about your catalog. These customers need three catalogs a year.

Did you digest what I said?

  • Your catalog-centric portion of the file is shrinking, and as it shrinks it needs more mailings.
  • Your brand-centric portion of the file is growing, and as it grows it needs fewer mailings.
It's the "40 catalogs" message that leaves folks flummoxed.

They can't conceive a world with 40 contacts. The questions/comments reflect their thoughts.
  • "Could I go from 18 to 19 mailings by adding a remail?"
  • "We don't have the kind of creative team that can put 40 catalogs a year together, so we're not going to pursue such an odd idea."
  • "We can't forecast inventory properly if we have to dynamically merchandise and personalize catalogs to get to 40 per year."
You can't afford NOT to get to 40 per year for your best customers. And these are going to be small mailings, with a personalized merchandise assortment based on prior buying behavior.

Bifurcation is here, and the future is coming. It's time to start thinking about how you adapt to bifurcation.

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