Northern Safety Boosts Mailings for 2003

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Catalogers never take lightly an increase in the number of books produced, especially a cataloger such as Northern Safety, whose annual catalog weighs 2.25 lbs. and has 628 pages.

Still, after a successful change in its use of lists two years ago, the company decided to increase its mailings from about 500,000 last year to 500,000 to 1 million this year, said Roe Polczynski, marketing communications team leader at Northern Safety Co. Inc., Utica, NY.

The response rate for the book, which mailed Jan. 6 to safety and industrial buyers, exceeded "expectations when factoring in the increase in circulation," she said. More than 75 percent of recipients were prospects, up slightly from last year.

"It is an expensive piece to produce, so we are very careful with list selection," Polczynski said. "Last year we mailed to a lot of industries, using a lot of compiled industry lists from the manufacturing, construction and utilities sectors. Up until two years ago we had never used list rental per se. In 2001, we tested four or five lists and found that it was worth it to expand. This year more than 50 percent of our names came from list rentals vs. compiled lists."

Those targeted include "purchasing agents, secretaries and end-users," she said. "They are in agriculture as well as construction. We don't look at titles [of recipients] when we mail it. Government agencies -- including local, state and federal -- are also part of the mix."

She would not give production or mailing costs for the book, though she said it was bulk mailed via bound printed matter in a polybag, with follow-ups planned to customers throughout the year.

The big book's average order was $200 to $250, about the same as for the 2002 catalog. The book includes 19,000 SKU, about the same as last year though with a higher mix of the company's own product lines.

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