Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fall Catalogs That Stand Out

Here is a list of some of the great call-outs from the early fall books.

Innovative Merchandising Partnerships to Note:
Grandinroad and Martha Stewart
Pottery Barn Kids and Barbie

Impressive Brand Endorsement to Note:
House Beautiful and Ballard Designs

New Creative to Note:
Restoration Hardware’s Worldly Design
Anthropologie’s fall look and feel

Entirely New Merchandise and Creative!
Check out the latest Sundance catalog

On a side note, I have received a whole stack of catalogs this week- the week leading into Labor Day weekend. We'll see how this mail date strategy works!

Monday, August 24, 2009

On to More Interesting Things

Over the past few months, we have all heard the same story again and again about the economy. We are going to assume we are on the upswing, given all of the positive economic indicators, and stop talking about something we have all talked about ad nauseum!

So, on to more interesting things! Over the last few months, hot topics seems to include customer retention programs, 12 month file sizes, page count and contact strategies, 2009 holiday promotions, email list rental, and social marketing.

A few thoughts to get us started!

A few of you have asked about the timing of your sale books this holiday/winter season. We polled some mailers and the consensus is to go in-home with the earlier date for both house and prospects. If you mail prospects later you run into sell out situations which do not make for a good first impression. Industry reports are also indicating that more people will be home for the holidays and that holiday travel the week between Christmas and New Years will be down.

We are also interested in some of the latest customer reactivation strategies that include following up a catalog mailing with a postcard or letter the same week with a special reactivation offer. With the additional cost of the second contact and the cost of the promotion, the big question is whether this is still more effective than your marginal prospecting efforts.

Lastly, how is early fall trending for everyone?

In our next blog, we will post the most popular promotions from last September.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel

This morning my newborn twins slept until 4 am for the first time, and I woke up thinking, Great! There is light at the end of the tunnel.

This is much of what we see and hear from clients too. Small signs that business is rebounding: customer counts stabilizing, achieving Plan (even though Plan is down to LY), customers actually buying full price, prospects starting to respond again, new ecommerce programs showing strength, retail comps climbing back from the deep end. Economically, we see the Dow rebounding and hear that home sales have picked back up a little, along with consumer confidence.

For me, one of the biggest surprises is hearing that high price point brands and/or brands selling nice-to-haves vs. must-haves are seeing a pick up too. To manage expectations, we are not talking about leaps over LY here- just a slow pick up against results that were down to LY in the double digits.

Last night, when I searched for coupons for two websites I was shopping on, nothing came up. I still made the transactions though, and as a marketer, I wondered if I was throwing off someone's incremental testing for the impact of promotions... If we can finally pull away from the constant promotions, we are left to really think about how to MARKET to our customers. How exciting!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Holiday 2008 Buyers- How do they compare?

Chances are, you had fewer customers who spent less and relied more on promotions during Holiday 2008 than in any other season in the past. As we find ourselves quickly immersed in 2009, here are a few key metrics to keep track of. Be sure to break out new and existing customers by segment/source for each of these metrics and compare to last year:

Standard metrics
> Repeat purchase rate
> Subsequent orders per buyer
> Subsequent revenue per customer
> Subsequent profit per customer- fully loaded (not just marketing costs)

Additional key metrics
> Subsequent orders and demand by source (email, search, catalog)
> % Incremental for results tied back to the catalog (by building sustainable mail/no mail groups and including path to purchase data)
> Total subsequent marketing costs (the cost of all marketing touches, from catalog to email and affiliates)
> % Of demand that is full price vs. sale/clearance vs. with discount/free shipping
> Customer migration across merchandise categories (what are they buying next?)
> Corporate results, if you are a multi-title company (% conversion to other titles and the sales and profit to the other titles)

The key questions are
1)How will customers from the 2008 holiday season compare to buyers from holidays past?
2)How should you change your contact strategy based on these metrics?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Join me this Thursday - January Webinar

Happy New Year!

2009 is here, and there's no time like the present to focus on improving your share of wallet with existing customers. New customer acquisition is more expensive than ever and in a tough economy, healthy response rates are hard to come by. Your existing housefile is still your most valuable asset.

Please join me on Thursday for a great discussion surrounding how to increase your share of wallet with existing customers, both online and offline. Our webinar this month is co-hosted by the great team at My Buys and we have two outstanding panelists- Francis Juliano (CMO/CIO at Wine Enthusiast) and Erik Martinez (Director of Ecommerce at Peruvian Connection).

Webinar details:
Thursday, January 8th
11 am PST (2 pm EST)
Please click here to register:

We look forward to hearing your questions and comments on Thursday!