Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.


Power Direct Marketing: The Book

Mailing/Distribution Pattern

Here is an example of how 4 different types of mail-order catalogs were distributed by month throughout the year.

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The business-to-business catalog has the largest range of distribution patterns throughout the year. With an extremely heavy distribution in January, a quick falloff through the spring to their low point in June. Distribution picks up through the summer months to a peak again in September and then a quick falloff to the end of the year.

The specialty catalog also had heavy distribution in January, fell off through the spring, also had a low point in June, and then a quick drop to December.

The consumer products catalog had the most even distribution — even though high points in January and September mirrored the other catalogs. Their lowest distribution month was July.

The retail catalog really had 3 peaks. The first was fairly heavy distribution in January, a little heavier yet in April, and their peak in September. June was also the low month for retail.

What does this all say? As in all scheduling, the distributor needs to be in the marketplace when the buyer is ready to buy. Yes, you can many times "peak-the-peaks"; that is, get more out of the marketplace than your competition by possibly being out a little more aggressively—maybe even a little earlier.

But there are certain things you really cannot change. The May/June/July distribution patterns for all the catalogs are exceptionally low. Only unusual or special offers, new product introductions, and seasonal items will probably be able to change that.

Even though these are "averages" from a survey done by Catalog Age, you must still find the best distribution time for your product, whether it be by catalog or some other method.

A quick glance at this chart may give you the misconception that the patterns between these 4 different styles of catalogs are very similar. They are similar—but they are certainly not alike!

In fact, there is a wide difference between the business-to-business catalog and the retail catalog. The business catalog peaks in January and September. The retail catalog is good in January and peaks again in April and September. They’re both low during June.

Compare that with the consumer catalog which peaks in January and September but has low points in March, May, and July.

So although there are similarities, there are also distinct differences. And you must find the differences in scheduling to reach your marketplace. It does make a difference.

A. Eicoff & Company, a direct response agency specializing in broadcast, shares information on the best time for direct response television.

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Wednesday is shown as the worst time of the entire week. The best day is Sunday. Prime time is not as productive as fringe time.

Richard Sangerman of Eicoff tells a story about one of their clients: Playboy. Through some unusual circumstances they tested a one-minute subscription offer during the third quarter of a Chicago Bears football game. Two orders were received.

Two! From a program directed toward one of the larger Chicago television audiences. Why only two? Think about it: If you were a Bears fan, would you interrupt your Sunday afternoon enjoyment to order a magazine?

If you leave the room to call the toll-free 800 number you may miss an important play in the game.

That same offer at fringe time, when John Wayne is riding over the mountain to meet Big Chief (during a movie you’ve seen 3 previous times), and you are much more likely to respond.

Timing is important in every phase of direct response. Or, as good friend Bob Perlstein, President of Lifestyle Change Marketing, says: " . . . you must deliver the right offer to the right market at the right time. Timing can be everything."

The important part of any schedule is to have one! The second most important function of scheduling is to include both everything possible and everyone necessary BEFORE actually starting a project.

This will save you countless headaches, not to mention mistakes, budget misunderstandings, "surprises," and schedule delays down the line. Plan ahead. Schedule early.


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