Bigger House File Triples Art Cataloger's Response Rate

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Growth in the number of house file names helped a business-to-business marketer of art elements triple the response rate for its November 2003 catalog compared with the book mailed in 2002.


Veer, which provides stock photography, illustrations, motion footage and typefaces for creative professionals, also credits the addition of rights-managed images for a 33 percent rise in the average order.


Circulation jumped from 150,000 for November 2002, including 85 percent prospects, to the November 2003 book's 250,000 with 60 percent prospects.


Jacqueline Wallace, public relations and strategic alliances director at Veer, Calgary, Alberta, said the company was only 5 months old in November 2002 and was in a "heavy prospecting stage." The house file's growth in the 12-month period was fueled by first-purchase incentive offers and offers for free fonts.


The year-over-year prospecting strategy involved a greater emphasis on product-specific targeting as opposed to simply targeting overall graphic-design industry prospects.


She said the prices charged for rights-managed images are based on how they will be used, such as in a magazine, billboard, annual report or Web site. Other factors that affect cost include regional use, circulation and the size of the image.


"In November 2002 we didn't offer it," said Wallace, who would not provide specific numbers regarding response rates for either catalog. "We only provided royalty-free photography along with typefaces, and motion images, which we continue to offer. One of the key objectives of the November 2002 book was to introduce the royalty-free CSA Images collection [which is] an illustration collection.


"For rights-managed images, the price points are higher than royalty-free images that can be used repeatedly."


The company's target audience includes art directors, creative directors, graphic designers and art buyers. Many buyers work at large ad agencies, publishing houses, in-house graphic design studios and film production studios.


Helping drive sales in the new product offering was LuckyPix, which is rights-managed photography. Some of the 4,000 images available appear on pages 12 and 13. An image from this collection was sold recently to a major hotel chain for an ad campaign. Wallace called it a $10,000-plus sale.


Other rights-managed photography contributing to the effort was the Solus collection. The photos on pages 4 and 5 carried names such as "aesthetic espionage," "urban harvest," "runway model," "house of blues," "fleeting beauty," "curb's-eye view" and "mothers' day."


Other big sellers from November 2003 were the Zanzibar typeface at $65 and the Jukebox collection, which includes 64 typefaces priced at $1,499.


The November 2003 cover was a departure from the previous year's look as 27 small "tile images" formed the number "27" against an aqua blue background. The 2002 catalog cover simply used the white silhouette image of a girl against a black background.


Opening the 2003 book to page 3 reveals the headline, "Veer. In 27 ways." Copy on the page includes "... we've taken our products in 27 creative directions." Categories in the book are numbered "01" through "27" and include Solus, Test Pilot Collective, Jukebox, CSA Images, LuckyPix, Nonstock and Font Bureau.


"The cover is meant to convey 27 unique design concepts or ideas," Wallace said. "It's meant to be intriguing and interesting to get the creative audience into the book. We appeal to their sense of individualism. This is very important for creative professionals. Part of what they look for is new ways of looking at things."


Page count stayed at 52. Total cost per piece remained at 75 to 85 cents.


"More pages wouldn't necessarily be effective because we want to get them to our site, veer.com, where they can see the hundreds of thousands of elements we offer that are not in the catalog," she said. "Even though we also offer a toll-free number for ordering, the Veer catalog is meant to drive customers to our site."


The plan continues to improve in its performance as the 70 percent of customers who placed orders online at the end of 2002 has increased to 80 percent.


The company's Calgary call center is staffed with about six sales representatives.


The company benefits from some of its operating expenses being paid in Canadian dollars due to its headquarters location. However, about 95 percent of its catalogs are mailed to the United States. The book's prices are in U.S. dollars.


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