Postcards Versus Catalogues

Joy Gendusa

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What do successful cataloguers do when they market?

There is a secret, or so it seems, in the catalogue industry that has not gotten out of the bag yet. Why is it a secret? It is probably not intended to be that way, but it just happens to remain a ‘not-known datum’. So, what’s the secret, you ask!?!?

That successful cataloguers use postcards to market!

Bah, hum bug, you say! Why would they do that? How can they sell their wares?

Simply and easily. Postcards work because they are inexpensive and they get the attention of the prospective buyer who would like to shop in their particular catalogue. Many big catalogue companies do it – JC Penny, Spiegel, Brighton – they all use postcards.

Now for your next objection: “People already know the products of JC Penny, Spiegel and Brighton so of course they will order the catalogue” (am I reading your mind, yet?) or how about your next consideration, “If the prospective clients do not see my merchandise than they won’t know if they want to order my catalogue or not, much less my merchandise. ”

Those are definitely objections, but not necessarily sound ones. Let’s break them down. Just think about it. They get your catalogue (that you spend $4 per piece sending out) and then they throw it away immediately. They do the same with a postcard, but postcards are cheap - .35 cents (that includes postage, design, mailing list, etc. ) compared to 4.00 – you could afford to continue to send those postcards out until they finally decide to order your catalogue. You can’t do that with catalogues, it’s too expensive!

The trick with postcards is to advertise on your postcard one of your best selling items and mail it to your prospective buyer list. Then design another postcard with another one of your best selling items and mail it to the same list one to two weeks later. Do the same again and again for about four to five postcards. Make an offer on your postcard, like, you will send them a catalogue for free and 10% off their first order if they order within 30 days of ordering their catalogue.

Then, we you have exhausted those five postcards on that prospective list, you hit ‘em again. Same rotation of postcards mailed out every one to two weeks. And those prospects that didn’t order your catalogue the first time they got the postcards will this time.

And you do it again. And the ones that didn’t order the second round, will this time.

And you do it again…. it’s a numbers game; it’s a communication game. Sometimes you have to beat people over with head with an idea before the light bulb goes off. Same with marketing. Except you are gently nudging their mail boxes.

You will get reaches. You will get orders. You will save money. And you will be doing what successful retail and cataloguers have been doing for eons. How do I know? I service some really successful cataloguers and I see what they do that is successful.

So, quit not marketing. It is foolish to be in business these days and not market. You have to market aggressively. There is so much mass communication out there today that you have to constantly be in your target market’s face in order to make an impact. Twenty years ago it was not that way. Forty years ago it really was not that way. Come up to present time and market smart. Postcards are one of the smartest ways to go. Brochures are the next smartest. Postcards followed up with brochures are intelligent.

Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998, her only assets a computer and a phone. By 2005 the company did over $12 million in sales, employed over 100 people and made Inc. Magazine’s prestigious Inc 500 List as the one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the nation. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. As an Expert Author, she is always willing to share her marketing advice through articles, interviews and speaking engagements. Visit her web site at


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