Direct mail frequency: Think small, and mail often

You’ve been bringing in piles of holiday catalogs from the mailbox all fall. But the first week of December, chances are you noticed something new, different, and very appealing turning up in the mix: Small catalogs.

These are not merely thinner versions of companies’ standard catalogs, with cover copy urging you to order before the holiday shipping deadline. These are miniature catalogs very specifically focused on last-minute gift giving. The cover taglines tout simplicity and ease-of-use:

  • 12 Perfect Gifts for Gardeners
  • Gifts for Cooks — Under $25
  • Our Top-Selling 2007 Calendars

A delight for consumers swamped in holiday activities, these mini-catalogs are also a very smart move on the part of direct mail marketers with an eye on their budgets.

Mini-catalogs cost less to print and less to mail. And, because most of them focus on high profit, high volume, and easy-to-ship items (rather than the whole spectrum of company products, many of which may be out-of-stock by early December) they draw orders that are easy and inexpensive to fill.

The mini-catalog format makes it affordable for direct mail marketers to maintain the frequency of mailings required to keep a company—and its current offers—in the customers’ minds. This makes them excellent follow-up pieces in any campaign. And small-format mailings are always a cost-effective tool for testing new lists and for introducing a company to new prospects.

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