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Author Stephen R. Lett

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By Stephen Lett

About Stephen

Stephen R. Lett spent the first 25 years of his career in executive-level positions at both business-to-business and business-to-consumer catalog companies, including Monarch Marketing Systems, Tandy Corp., Edmund Scientific Co., The Drawing Board and Country Curtains. Additionally, he owned... the Writewell Co., and started (and owned) The Write Touch.

He also taught direct marketing at Indiana University. Today, Steve owns Lett Direct, a catalog and internet consulting firm specializing in circulation planning, plan execution, analysis, as well as internet marketing and email marketing. He’s the winner of a Silver Mail Box Award from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), is a past chairman of the DMA’s Catalog Council, and a former member of the DMA’s Committee on Ethical Business Practices. Steve also writes a monthly column in Catalog Success Magazine.

 

Catalog Doctor

Susan J. McIntyre
Where NOT to Cut Costs in Your Catalog Business
Mar 19, 2015

Cost cutting among catalog brands has been widespread for the past few years — and with good results. It's kept...



Return on Inventory

Joe Palzkill
Get Returns on Your Returns
Mar 5, 2015

With the advent of omnichannel retailing, the subject of customer returns has become a hot topic for retailers. The financial...



Return on Intelligence

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An Open Letter to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg After His Lame ‘Thank You for Being an Advertiser’ Pop-Up
Feb 26, 2015

As a marketer, I've put my best efforts into building not just likes, but deeply engaged communities on Facebook. And when...



Designed to Convert

Tim Ash
Avoid 3 Common Technology Traps and Boost Conversions
Feb 25, 2015

Technology is your friend. That's what marketers say after they employ a largely tech-driven tactic that provides some lift. Unfortunately, that's...



The Art of Delivering Style

Maria Haggerty
The Best Packages of 2014
Feb 17, 2015

As retailers make decisions for 2015, capitalizing on branded and personalized packaging strategies should be a priority. Retailers don't need...



Shipping Insights

Rob Martinez
UPS to Increase Fuel Surcharges on All Products Effective Feb 2, 2015
Feb 2, 2015

In spite of plummeting oil prices, UPS just changed the tables used to calculate fuel surcharges, resulting in yet another rate...



Retail Rants & Raves

Joe Keenan
Retail Jobs Not so Bad After All?
Oct 15, 2014

The National Retail Federation (NRF) today released a study authored by a University of Georgia economist who found that retail jobs...



Retail Revelations

Melissa Campanelli
When Email Snafus Happen to Good Companies
Nov 12, 2014

Say it ain't so! I was actually sad when I read in MarketWatch this week that Seattle-based online retailer Zulily’s...



Email Marketing Bites

Liz Ryan
The Email Hierarchy of Needs: Deliverability is the Foundation
Jun 18, 2014

If you're not getting the most of your email messaging, you might not be asking the right questions. How many...



Email Applied

Reggie  Brady
Subject Lines That Work
Jul 18, 2014

Standing out in the inbox isn't easy. A lot of promotional emails I receive have subject lines that aren't special....



ThinkAbout: Inspirational Verve for Your Product Line!

Andrea Syverson
Springboard From Your Brand Filter
Jun 26, 2014

One of the most important ways I strengthen my clients’ brands and product lines is by collaborating with their leaders...



B-to-B Insights

George Hague
2 Must-Have B-to-B Metrics
Apr 9, 2014

Smart CEOs know two essential B-to-B metrics to successfully grow their businesses: contribution per order (CPO) for new customers and...



50 Best Tips for 2015

It's a new year and the Lett Direct team has put together "50 Best Tips for 2015" that will help you increase your profits. While not in any particular order, these suggestions are being made to help you improve your print catalog and digital marketing programs. Some of our suggestions might be obvious while other tips might stimulate your thinking. Regardless, we hope our tips and suggestions for 2015 will benefit your business.  Read More >>

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Lessons Learned From a Lifetime in the Catalog Business

I began my catalog career over 40 years ago. I've learned several lessons over the years about the dos and don'ts of catalog marketing. I'd like to pass along some of what I've learned and the principles we follow today as we advise our customers. I've seen companies with the best of intentions make decisions opposite of what they should have done. Often these decisions have been an attempt to save money (or at least they thought). In many cases, adding rather than reducing is the better...  Read More >>

Page Count Does Make a Difference

There's a favorable relationship between the incremental costs of adding pages vs. the actual return. Pages generate a high return on investment. For example, increasing page count from 52 pages to 60 pages yields a 15.4 percent increase in the number of square inches of selling space. Yet, typically the cost is only 7.4 percent more for the eight extra pages (again, this is approximate depending on the quantity printed).  Read More >>

How Important is Average Order Size?

Catalog executives always seem to have a great deal of interest in their average order size. They become concerned when they see it decrease. What's more, catalogers often spend time trying to artificially increase the average order size without really understanding the implications of doing so. That's why I want to provide a good understanding of what's behind the average order size and other measurements that might be more important to your analysis.

 Read More >>

The Real Driver of Catalog Circulation

Print catalog circulation is starting to increase for a number of reasons. First, mailing a catalog drives business to the internet. We know that up to 80 percent of all orders placed online were the result of mailing a catalog. Second, the lifetime value (LTV) of a catalog buyer is higher than other channels. For example, if a consumer goes to a search engine for a particular item, they might buy it at the right price, but it doesn't mean they'll buy again. However, if the order originates...  Read More >>

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Actions to Take (or Not Take) When Response Rates Decline

Catalog response rates have been flat or trending down the past few years … or so it seems. The web is certainly a factor, but there are several other reasons why this is the case. When response rates start trending down, what action should you take? How should you alter your print circulation to compensate for lower response rates? Often, the actions management take are the opposite of what should be done.  Read More >>

Catalog Marketing Strategy for the New Year

While the best marketing strategy for 2014 is to leverage all channels, here are a few print catalog recommendations for the new year:  Read More >>

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The Importance of Promotional Offers

According to the CFI Group's Retail Satisfaction Barometer for this year's second quarter, 77 percent of consumers said shipping costs factor into their willingness to shop online. This certainly reinforces the importance of "free" or "flat" shipping offers during the busy holiday season. Shipping offers are a big deal to consumers shopping for holiday gifts. The decision-making process is greatly influenced by such offers. They can mean the difference between getting or not getting an

...  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Printer Lead Times Do Matter

There's more to obtaining print bids than price. Printer lead times should be part of the mix. For example, when mail tapes and creative files are due to the printer should be considered. The shorter the deadline when mail files are due to the printer the better. This enables catalogers to include more recent buyers in the mailing.

 Read More >>

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Don't Give Up Your Order Form Just Yet

With the help of The Dingley Press, we conducted a study to determine how many catalogs it prints that still include some type of order form. We found that almost half of our fairly large sample size have no inside ink-jet or order form insert, but they do have an order form printed on-page in the catalog. Another 18.5 percent use a bind-in order form. In summary, 71.5 percent of the catalogs we surveyed use an order form; only 28.5 percent have eliminated the order form entirely.  Read More >>

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How Catalogs Drive Your Business

The printed catalog is the main driver of traffic to the web. However, with all of the other touchpoints available to consumers today, how do we really know the impact of catalog mailings on web sales? And why do we give so much credit to the print catalog? There are a few reasons why:  Read More >>

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