List Management Is Among Keys to Catalog Success

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Key areas of focus for catalogers include list management, training, scripting and the quality of the product, DialAmerica Marketing's Kevin Fields told attendees during a session at The Annual Catalog Conference at the Moscone Center here yesterday.

"The biggest mistake many catalog companies make in list management is they assume by using the [USPS] process of cleansing databases that they're ready to make an outbound call," said Fields, director of business development/inbound & interactive services at DialAmerica. "What you don't realize is people move, their phone numbers change and area code changes is the biggest thing. You want to have a regular outbound campaign that helps you keep that database ... up to date and usable."

In the area of training, he said, "you cannot over-train."

He divided training into two levels: "making them an outbound representative," which has to do with how to make a call and get people's attention and the regulatory requirements that must be followed in making a presentation; and product or campaign training specific to a campaign's goals.

When it comes to scripting, outbound call representatives must internalize the offer and its benefits.

"They don't need a script," he said. "They may need to say things a specific way, but they're saying it with passion, they're saying it with the right inflection. They mean it vs. just reading a script."

Perhaps the most important element, he said, is making sure you have a quality offer.

"Too many telemarketing companies get beat up for not succeeding when, in fact, no one would buy the product if you gave it to them," he said.

His company provides outbound and inbound campaigns for about 20 catalog clients.


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