A Baker's Dozen


When I was a kid, I remember walking with my sisters to our near-by Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up a dozen donuts for the family’s Sunday breakfast, while my parents read the Sunday paper. (I know, not too healthy, but it was a fun tradition). Each time we arrived, the store clerks would send us off with a couple of "donut holes." At the time, their donut holes were throw-aways, by-products of making donuts, which they hadn’t yet envisioned marketing as "Munchkins."

The idea of giving away Donut Holes was similar to the old bakers’ giving customers a Bakers Dozen—a little something more than expected—just to put a smile on their customer’s face and keep them coming back.

This September at NEMOA, we tried a new way to give catalog and multi-channel merchants their own version of a Bakers Dozen – a little something extra, in terms of new ideas and networking. In the first ever "NEMOA Think Tanks," the 300+ attending catalogers and vendors brainstormed, discussed, and shared the techniques they’ve been finding to be most effective.

We had four separate Think Tanks:

  1. Digital
  2. Creative
  3. Small Business
  4. Analytics

The goal was to give all of us a forum to consider what's working and what's not, or to envision what might be next in the world of multi-channel marketing. The hope was that NEMOA "customers" would come away with a virtual Baker’s Dozen, more than they expected.

Although it was hard to narrow the list, here’s my "Baker’s Dozen" of take-aways from the Think Tanks:

  1. Web: Try a "FLASH SALE"
  2. Acquisition: Reconsider what we "give" in exchange for an email address
  3. Creative: when creating "personas" to understand your market, be very specific: Give a name, where they go on vacation, radio station they listen to, favorite colors, etc.
  4. Videos: Short, behind the scenes, how to, or consumer-generates videos do best
  5. Mobile: Some mobile presence, even if it's basic, is a must; but also do-able. Utilize what you have and keep it simple with existing apps, partners, screen scrapes.
  6. Photography: Be prepared to deviate from the norm on products that are difficult to represent; also before and after pictures (or theirs vs. ours) work great.
  7. Call to action: Create a call-to-action that means something to the reader. Never assume they care about what you are asking them to do. Research helps!
  8. Page count: Lower page counts for prospects don’t always work, just lowers AOV
  9. Prospecting: utilize the services and expertise of your vendors for modeled lists and matchbacks. (services from Epsilon, MeritDirect, WebDecisions, Merkle and the like quickly pay for themselves.)
  10. Design: use models your customers can relate to.
  11. Copy: use less copy in print; push them online for more; create a voice
  12. Print catalog: keep doing them … they’re worth it.
  13. Customer service: to keep us with larger retailers, offer a personalized and customer service experience they can’t compete with—give them more than they expect

After the fruitful days of networking and learning, I was happy to come home, cull through my notes and look forward to sending my boys out to our neighborhood bagel shop, to pick up a Baker’s Dozen of bagels.

Posted by Susan Doctoroff Landay, President of Trainers Warehouse and NEMOA Board Member.