The stores are full of Halloween candy, and you know that catalog season is not far behind. For brands that market via catalogs, they’ve no doubt already put a lot of thought and work into their year-end catalog plans. Now, it’s coming down to the wire, and what happens in the next few weeks can make a real difference in the bottom line success.
So we like this timeline from Tanya H at Catalog Consulting that gives some tips for maximizing your mailing process.
7 Weeks Out — Review your circulation plan and TYD catalog results. As Tanya advises, it may be time to adjust your catalog plan and tweak results. Run your house file RFM segmentation count and order prospects lists now.
5 Weeks Out – Run those house and prospect files through address validation and NCAO before you merge and purge. Now’s the time add key codes to your lists, and include decoys.
4 Weeks Out – “Review your merge output counts and decide which records will receive a catalog. This is the time to set up your catalog versions and/or catalog test and control groups. If you are testing versions, rekey the splits,” Tanya notes.
3 Weeks Out – Review all counts and key codes in your finalized list before you upload it to your printer. Double check your test and control groups to make sure all looks set up properly.
1-2 Weeks Out – By now your printer should have your mail file, and now’s the time to ask for copies of the inkjet simulations. Check for truncated records and any missing fields, and confirm that customer account numbers match the names and addresses. You’ll also want to confirm that the right catalog versions have been assigned to the right lists.
Mailing Week – Confirm with your printer that the catalog hit the mail as planned. Don’t assume. Your printer should give you a co-mail report with USPS dates, or a dated postage document that verifies delivery with the PO. And then watch your decoy report to make sure the catalogs arrive in-home as planned.
You’ve invested a lot in your direct mail catalog, and for good reason: catalogs work. Follow up all that effort by going the extra mile on the mailing. And call us if you need any help; we know catalogs.