January 21, 2024

Let's Go Old-School For A Moment

In the 1990s, there were a pair of consultants I absolutely adored. They were a husband/wife team, and they had a methodology for determining how many catalogs a customer should receive, on an annual basis. I adored these two individuals. They fundamentally flipped old-school catalog marketing on it's end. Did anybody listen to them? Virtually nobody listened to them. But these two individuals are as important to an industry as Don Libey was.

Their methodology was in stark contrast to industry "best practices", which called for brands to select the best "n" names from their customer file for each mailing, on an independent basis.

If brands mailed customers on an independent basis, based on each individual mailing, the result looked like this - and then the optimal strategy via a "horizontal" approach ... deciding annually how often to mail somebody ... that is the bottom portion of the table.

Do you observe a difference?

The table at the top of the image is the "vendor centric" view of catalog mailing strategy - it's what our partners encourage ... it causes a catalog brand to mail more often, helping pay all paper/printing folks the most money in the process. It was that way in 1994. It is that way in 2024. Your vendor likely asks you to mail the "best" names in each mailing ... and if ad costs and response are constant, the outcome will be exactly as illustrated in the table above.

The table at the bottom of the image is how my models work - they're different from the methodology used by the husband/wife team in the 90s, but the outcome is essentially similar to what they authored.

The bottom table is a far more profitable outcome than the top of the table.

If you believe me and want me to implement the bottom of the table, contact me (kevinh@minethatdata.com) and we'll get started on a catalog marketing contact strategy project.

P.S.: In case you are wondering, the pioneers of a horizontal based mailing strategy were Robert and Kate Kestnbaum. They were light years ahead of their time.

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