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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.

 

Retail Revelations

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What Alibaba's Success Means for U.S. Retailers
Sep 22, 2014

Who would've thunk it. A company that sells barf bibs, Buddha-shaped pears, a portable fat-freezing machine and inflatable walking-on-water shoes...



Shipping Insights

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FedEx Announces 2015 General Rate Increase
Sep 18, 2014

This is the first time FedEx has announced its Ground increase prior to UPS. In the past, UPS would set...



Retail Rants & Raves

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Urban Outfitters Crosses the Line With 'Bloody' Kent State Sweatshirt
Sep 16, 2014

In case you haven't seen or heard the news yet, Urban Outfitters is embroiled in yet another controversy. The apparel...



Catalog Doctor

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Tips for Finding the Right Product Density for Your Catalog
Sep 11, 2014

Product density is quite a science. What's right for one brand is wrong for another. Here are some guidelines that...



Return on Inventory

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How Product Profiling Increases Sales and Profits
Aug 22, 2014

An accepted best practice in inventory planning is to adhere to the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule....



The Art of Delivering Style

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5 Ways Retailers Can Compete With Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery Model
Aug 12, 2014

Most small retailers lack the resources and store footprint to handle same-day shipping on their own. However, it's still possible...



Email Marketing Bites

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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...



Designed to Convert

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Local Optimization Drives Conversions, But Your Local Page Won’t
Jul 31, 2014

Local was already in play before the iPhone changed the online marketing game in 2007, but the mobile shift has...



Return on Intelligence

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LinkedIn Publishing Platform: User Review, Tips and Some Wishes for its Next Iteration, Part 3
Jul 23, 2014

This week in the third and final part of this series, I offer suggestions for how LinkedIn's publishing platform can...



Email Applied

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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!

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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

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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...



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.

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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 >>

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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.

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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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