To explain how I got to this point, I have to give you some background. In December, I went online to buy my grandmother a soothing beeswax hand basin to help her with her arthritis. Since I wanted to wrap it to put under the tree, I had it shipped to my home in my name. My grandmother loved it and it was declared the best gift of the season.
Flashforward to May and me opening my mail to discover a catalog. Now, I love catalogs and I think they’re one of the most under-used marketing tools. However, this catalog made me laugh hard enough to make my neighbor look across the road to see what was up. On the front of the cover were three excellent featured products – a splendid walker, a fine pair of diabetic socks, and an “easy grip” pill cutter. The catalog itself is full of products to help the “gracefully aging” demographic. To someone who has just recently celebrated her 29th birthday for the 3rd time, the catalog was clearly NOT hitting its target demographic.
Catalogs are not inexpensive to produce. A standard 70 page catalog printed in full colour and mailed will cost at least $3 per piece, and could be upwards of $10. My grandmother’s present cost just $15, which means that the company has, simply by mailing me the catalog, given away their entire profit margin by marketing to someone who (not withstanding my love of my grandmother) will almost certainly not buy anything again, or at least not until Christmas.
How could this company have saved that profit margin? A simple entry during my purchasing online requesting my birth date would have told them that I wasn’t their target age group. From there, they could have segmented their list into direct-to-consumer (ie the elderly) marketing and non-direct (ie friends and family) marketing. From there, the company could know to market to the first group continuously, and reserve marketing to the second group only on festive occasions.
I will say, though… the diabetic socks do look comfortable.