Domestications Opening Up To Net

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Domestications, Hanover Direct Inc.'s bedding and linens print catalog, is preparing to offer advertising space specifically to Internet companies within the pages of its mail-order catalog. Although it's just beginning to gauge interest in the program by dot-com advertisers, Domestications hopes to launch the program in March with four dedicated pages.

"There's a tremendous amount of advertising spending going on in the dot-com world, and it seems like so many [are investing in] the standard TV, radio, billboard and magazine advertising," said Tim Arland, vice president of marketing for Domestications, Weehawken, NJ. "We thought this was a way for advertisers to differentiate themselves."

It certainly wouldn't be the first time a print catalog sold advertising to outside companies, but Hanover's specific target, Internet buyers, is a new twist on an old idea. Research conducted by the multi-title catalog company last August, revealed a full 70 percent of Domestications customers have access to the Internet, according to Arland. "We have an audience that's 98 percent female with high access to the Internet, and all are known direct response buyers. That's our advantage over other mediums."

Domestications, a catalog that specializes in offering mid-priced linens on an installment basis to mostly female customers with a $56,000 median household income, mails to roughly 6 million customers per month. Advertisers can take advantage of the full circulation of catalogs mailed, but may well test with a smaller volume of 1 million to 2 million books initially. That strategy is typical with blow-in and package insert programs.

"In the beginning, these companies would want to test with us on a small volume," said Arland. "The expectation is that most [advertisers] will start in a test mode and roll out from there."

Potential advertisers solicited by its agency, Zed Marketing Group, Edmond, OK, include online financial services companies, e-commerce companies and magazine publishers. The advertising rate for a full-page, four-color ad in 1 million copies of the catalog is $47,250; half-page and quarter-page ads also are available.

Hanover, a $540 million company, which over the past 24 months has made a concerted pitch to realign both its catalog operations and fulfillment services as Internet-driven businesses, may extend the program to its other catalog titles - such as The Company Store and Silhouettes - if all goes well.

"We're looking at doing it in other books as well, but to try and execute across all brands would be extremely difficult to do," said Arland. "We'll be the ones to test this, and as soon as we can, we'll roll it out to other brands; it's certainly what we intend. All of the brands have a very good presence of e-commerce customers and so it does make sense across all brands."

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