jump to navigation

Catalogers, green is in! October 24, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Online Marketing.
Tags: , , , , , ,
trackback

Last week’s article in the New York Times about Catalog Choice got me thinking about the catalog industry.

Now a new online service called Catalog Choice (www.catalogchoice.org) is facilitating attempts to unsubscribe. The site was developed by three nonprofit environmental groups — the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ecology Center — to relay requests en masse to specific retailers. Since it was introduced last Wednesday, more than 20,000 people have registered.

Now, I know a little something about how a catalog operation works because I ran very large database marketing technology projects at Staples and Eddie Bauer in the mid-late 90’s. So, here’s my take…

The Internet is partially to blame for increased catalog circulation

Despite predictions that the Internet would decrease direct marketing postal mail volumes, a 2005 study by Forrester Research (disclosure: I edited the report) showed that 60% of high-volume direct marketers (those that mail 50M or more pieces annually) planned to increase their mail spend. What that report didn’t say is that the Internet is actually deserves some of the blame for the increase.

Maybe this bucks conventional wisdom, but think about it. In the old days, catalogers could only build their house file by buying lists and participating in cooperative data sharing initiatives like Abacus. Now, if someone comes and buys on my site, then of course I’m going to add them to my house file. And, I’m also going to add them to my list for my sister brands too. It’s a no brainer. So, today, catalogers still use tools like Abacus and they also assume that every online shopper also wants a catalog. Pretty presumptuous, don’t you think?

Well, today’s over marketed and increasingly environmentally conscious consumers won’t have it. That’s what gives rise to organizations like Catalog Choice. And, this is just the beginning.

The industry needs to take action

I definitely don’t have all the answers here. Catalogers are in a tough place and I sympathize. When each catalog turns a profit, it’s hard to come up with a business case to stop. But I think the industry needs to take the lead and start working on the problem. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:

  1. Enable online customers to opt-out (better yet, IN) of catalogs on your site. You do this for email right? Technically you don’t have to –the CAN-SPAM law only mandates that you honor an opt-out. But, you do it because consumers fought back against email spam. So do it for your catalogs too (catalogs are a lot more expensive than email after all). It’s not hard to add another flag to your database that you check in your campaign list pull process. I am not aware that any retailers are doing this today – it’s time to start.

  2. Allow customers to limit the number of catalogs they receive. Some retailers I’ve worked with send as many as 60 mailings a year to a single household – that’s a lot of paper! Take the catalog opt-in a step further and give your customers a choice to limit the number of catalogs their household receives every year. Now, it’s up to you to figure out – through modeling and contact optimization techniques – which catalogs will drive the most return from that household within the customer’s set limit.

  3. Tighten up the deduplication rules. So, my husband and I don’t have the same last name. That doesn’t mean that we want duplicates of every catalog in our house. I had this argument with a client in 1995. The response I got was, “The catalog could be going to a sorority house or an apartment – we want to get as many eyeballs on each book as possible.” Well, with a little external data and a tad more technical elbow grease, you can easily determine that I live in a residential suburb in a single family home. So, please, don’t send me two catalogs and save yourself a tree and a few bucks in the process.

Sure, the ideas I’m proposing will limit your reach, but they WILL help the environment and be viewed as a step in the right direction by your greening customer base. You can get some leverage from this – publicize the fact that you are committed to being more green and helping the environment. But be careful with this part, don’t say you are green and fail to walk the talk – today’s consumer is watching and now has plenty of channels through which to be heard.

Advertisements

Comments»

1. The weekly catalog take in my household « NxtERA Marketing - October 26, 2007

[…] Marketing, direct marketing, Online Shopping, Retail trackback To further the points I made in yesterday’s post, I thought I’d display the volume of catalogs that come into my household on a weekly basis. […]

2. Direct mail: Not dead yet (and won’t be any time soon) « NxtERA Marketing - November 12, 2007

[…] is not alone. Per my previous assertion that ecommerce is actually responsible for increased direct mail circulation… I get a ton […]

3. Savannah - July 27, 2014

I see a lot of interesting posts on your page. You have to spend a lot of time writing,
i know how to save you a lot of time, there is a tool
that creates high quality, google friendly posts in couple of minutes,
just search in google – k2 unlimited content

4. buy 5000 twitter followers uk - August 13, 2014

Those who want to promote through these social networks need to have fans as well as followers so that it
looks as if they are very popular with the public. Point to those
you are following by having their tweets or links retweeted.
These sites have varying charges depending on the number of followers you would like to purchase.

5. Anitra - September 1, 2014

I read a lot of interesting articles here. Probably you spend a lot of time writing,
i know how to save you a lot of time, there is an online tool that creates unique,
google friendly articles in minutes, just search in google
– laranitas free content source

6. Hacked-Cheatz - September 21, 2014

This game hasn’t been so bad at all. I can say that I used to be kijda obsessed with
it :P.I made the choice to end my journey after last up-date…

7. Isobel - January 4, 2015

It is sold with different comfort levels which ranbge from
1 to a single hundred. Memory foam mattresses are produced from
a mixture in the memory foam, and thee body washes.
A foam mattress topper gives feeling same as foam mattress, so listen to the
salesman’s spiel, read the labels, but above all, take time too stretch out and see how iit feels.

Trry the thrwe collections and let your body choose. This is no game.
I want to make sure they’re totally satisfied.

8. Cyril - January 18, 2015

Eminem was at hospital for week as he was young. He hhas been in coma all of this time.
Have you guys know that? Schoolyard bully has beaten him
so badly. Rap game wouldn’t be the same without him…
Do you agree with me??


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: