Talon Mailing & Marketing

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(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing December 2019 Newsletter.

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Five Reasons Catalogs Are Making a Comeback

By Trevor Testwuide, Retaildive.com

There has been a huge resurgence in direct mail because it can be a very effective marketing channel for retail brands.

The Sears Roebuck catalog was around  for more than 100 years and was the heart of mail-order retail.

Generations of Americans spent hours poring over Sears and other department store catalogs, circling items for their wish lists.

Today, instead of circling items in the catalog, we often put them in our electronic carts while we continue browsing. In 2016, 9.8 billion catalogs were shipped to consumers, according to the Data & Marketing Association. That's about half the 19.8 billion that went out a decade earlier. This is largely because the really big mailers are not mailing what they used to, but there are actually more unique brands in the mail than ever before.

While catalog might seem to be dated and expensive, the reality is there has been a huge resurgence in direct mail because it can be a very effective marketing channel for retail brands. Digitally native DTC brands are turning to catalogs to play a vital role in their growth beyond Facebook and Instagram.

"Leading marketers have realized that a marketing mix across channels drives the most growth," said Polly Wong, managing partner at Belardi Wong. "With more than 150 DTC brands launching direct mail campaigns over the last few years, we have seen this firsthand at Belardi Wong."

So why are brands that started as digitally native retailers taking a page from the Sears playbook?

There are several reasons:

1. The data

Data drives every well-run marketing organizations and the DNA of catalog fits right in. Like digital, catalog is an addressable channel with one-to-one targeting and measurement capabilities.

2. Catalog reporting is now timely 

Catalog data has always been rich in insights, but it has historically been slow to report. Waiting the standard 30 to 45 days for catalog match-back reporting is no longer required. Today, it is available daily. DTC marketers now have precise and timely catalog measurements aligned to the reporting cadence of digital. This means lining up catalog to digital is now possible for timely portfolio investment decisions to compare prospecting across catalog, Facebook, non-branded search and other channels.

3. Facebook and Instagram have been saturated: Prices are up, marketers look to diversify

Many DTC brands claim to have Facebook and Instagram growth-hacker jedis on staff. Commonly, DTC brands have been pushing these channels as far as they responsibly can and have reached saturation. It's now more expensive, it's noisy and crowded, and catalog is one tactic proving to be a natural diversification option for growth marketers.

"With cost-per-clicks increasing more than 30% in the last year, you can mail 4-8 catalogs to a highly targeted audience for the cost of one Facebook click," Wong said. "You also can't understate the square inches in a catalog when it comes to driving response rates for new customer acquisition."

4. Social and catalog: Segment to win for a complementary execution

DTC will remain wedded to Facebook and Instagram for the foreseeable future. I am not suggesting catalog is a replacement for social. In fact, the two can complement each other well and be stronger when used in tandem.

We have seen recent evidence that, when used together, there was a 10% accretive lift in response rate on Catalog + Facebook executions compared to the control group. There is increasing evidence that Catalog + Facebook or Catalog + Digital executions are driving stronger results, but the ROI of such executions should be validated through testing.

Divide and Conquer: The classic cross-channel catalog strategy on the CRM file is to segment audiences based on recency, frequency and monetary value. Audiences are divided into RFM segments and catalogs are dropped to those that perform best. For RFM segments not receiving the catalog, Facebook and Instagram can be a more economical contact strategy to reach audiences less likely to buy.

More and more catalog agencies are offering similar cross-channel executions on the rental files for prospecting as well.

5. Test, learn, grow strategy works great for catalog

Many marketers have effectively adopted test-and-learn practices into their culture around digital tactics. They can almost immediately see whether a new social tactic like TikTok works for their brand, a new Instagram campaign attracted new customers or an email coupon campaign led to more sales.

Now that catalog measurement and reporting are moving closer to the pace of digital, it becomes a test, learn, grow option for fast-growing brands.

Increase Sales by Building the Trust of Your Customers

From: Smallbiztrends.com

We are all consumers and we gravitate toward brands and retailers that we are familiar with and trust.

If you’re in the business of selling, you know that it’s important to build trust with your audience. It is the key to success. Even if the product or service is life-changing and will help your target audience solve a crucial problem, you won’t be able to sell if you haven’t gained trust.

When you think about it, we are all consumers at one point and we gravitate toward brands and retailers that we are familiar with and trust. Here are 5 of the best ways to build trust with your audience so you can increase sales.

1. Start a Mailing List

Starting and building a mail list and sending postcards, flyers, and letters is one of the best ways to connect with your audience on a deeper level. People who sign up are eager to hear more from you and learn more about your business.

You can send regular updates, tips, and resources, and personal stories to help gain trust and familiarity among your audience.

2. Open Up Build Trust

People respond to authenticity which is why your branding should include this to increase your sales and build trust. Don’t be afraid to open up and share your story as it relates to your business.

When you share your obstacles and mistakes, it shows people that you’re not perfect and helps them be able to relate to you. No one will trust a person or business that comes off as perfect all the time or doesn’t seem transparent.

3. Show Results

Talk is nice, but to gain loyal followers and customers, you must show results. Perform some case studies and show real examples of how your products or services help people get results.

As someone who creates online courses, I learned early on that the main selling point is the results that people will get. People aren’t really buying the process, they’re buying into the end result so be clear about that.

4. Provide Testimonials

Testimonials and word-of-mouth referrals are still great ways to sell and gain trust. It’s one thing to say that your business is great, but if other people say that, it becomes more effective.

Another way to build trust and increase your sales is to reach out to past customers and clients, to see if they can provide detailed testimonials to explain their thoughts and opinions about your service.

5. Mind Your Spelling and Grammar

One of the easiest ways to build trust with your audience and increase your sales is by avoiding grammar and spelling errors in your copy. This just makes your business seem much more professional and show that you care.

If you have typos in your blog posts, sales copy, emails, or on your website, it can make people question your credibility and refrain from trusting you.

The same goes when you’re reaching out to others with an email pitch. I get tons of email pitches each week and I automatically ignore the ones that misspell my name or refer to me as ‘Sir’.

If people would take an extra minute to visit my site and get familiar with my business, they’d see that I’m a woman and learn a little bit more about what I do. This would avoid these careless mistakes and open the door for a trusting relationship.

Build Trust with Your Audience

Being able to build trust with your audience does take time, but it can help increase sales later down the road. Put yourself in the position of your audience and potential customers.

Think of what they’d need in order to feel like they trust you enough to use one of your resources or services to solve a problem. Also, focus on overcoming common objections and providing plenty of examples and case studies through your marketing and overall messaging.

Turn the Customer Into the Advocate

By Meg Hiney, Mytotalretail.com

By understanding their customers and what brings them back, brands can expand their consumer base and increase the number of repeat buyers.

Good brands have followers, strong brands have advocates. Those advocates are gained through a relationship built outside of the typical transaction. To get to this level of relationship, brands must create an experience their customers can only get by interacting with the brand. By understanding their customers and what brings them back, brands can expand their consumer base and increase the number of repeat buyers.

Know the Customer

Whether a brand sells vegan shoes and handbags or specializes in high-end, multiproduct department stores, brands have loyal customers. Finding out more about those customers is integral for the life of a brand. Understanding spend behavior, demographics and consumer motivation is achieved in various ways, including face-to-face interaction during the transaction and, more importantly, post-transaction interaction. With the availability of technology to gather information and act upon it, there's little room for brands not to understand who their top customers are.

A consistent consumer trend is withholding personal information. Consumers today don’t offer up personal data freely, so allowing the customer to choose what and how they share empowers them and leaves a positive impression of the brand. With precise customer data, brands have a more detailed view of who their top customers are and understand how they prefer interacting with the brand. These become tools for building a relationship with the consumer that leads toward a future of positive interactions.

Put the Information to Work

Having detailed information is the first step, the integral second step is building the experience tailored to customers. Consumers that purchase online a couple times per year won’t be enticed to visit a store for an event as much as the consumer that visits a brand's brick-and-mortar store weekly. The information is available, so brands must move to act on it. Understand who comes to your store and what types of events they prefer. Offering different levels of involvement makes the brand appealing to a larger audience, growing the top customer segment.

Every brand is different, and those differences are what keep customers returning. Brands must recognize what makes their customers feel special, and focus on creating experiences around it. Whether consumers would greatly benefit from having a coffee shop in the lobby or attending an exclusive spa day, brands can find the opportunity to create a personalized experience for their top customers and turn them into brand advocates. While it may look like no two shoppers are the same, there's a similarity that brings top customers back over and over. Understanding what that is means brands commit more effort into events that benefit the brand and its customers.

Customers Can Make You or Break You

The cost of creating and maintaining a brand advocate is low, but the return can be great. If asked, more than half of consumers will write a review of a product or experience post-interaction. And of those reviews, about two-thirds of potential customers read them and base their purchasing decision off them. As more brand advocates share positive reviews and experiences, more consumers convert into actual customers.

With its inception, social media created a marketplace for consumer experiences and opinions. And with that marketplace, social media can make or break a brand. Thanks to “retweets” and internet “trolls,” bad press can remain bad press. Before social media, it would take 10 positive experiences for consumers to leave a positive review. But now, brand advocates are sharing their positive experiences immediately after or even during the interaction with a brand. Offering opportunities for a positive interaction with your brand encourages advocates to speak up on behalf of the brand and help tune out the bad press.


Engagement solutions go beyond building a loyalty program; they create a unique experience for your best customers. Personalized incentives and exclusive events keep customers returning and talking positively about the brand. When consumers start to post, like, tweet and share branded content, top customers becomes the brand’s greatest ally: advocates.

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know by email:  mb@talon-mailing.com

To learn more about our company, please visit our Web site: www.talon-mailing.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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In this Issue:

Five Reasons Catalogs Are Making a Comeback

Increase Sales by Building the Trust of Your Customers

Turn the Customer Into the Advocate

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Apps & Links - Apps & Web sites you probably haven't seen

View Samples of Our Work

Newsletter Archives

Direct Mail Humor!

New Clients:

Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:
  • Lexicon

  • Rockler

  • 2 New Lists From Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:

Some interesting things to check out...

Slidebean.com - Design professional presentations in seconds using the world's first slide design platform powered by Artificial Intelligence.

Brill.app - This app is much faster than typing. Save time when capturing your handwritten notes.  Share to email and text.

Artlist.io - Music licensing reimagined. The filmmaking industry's go-to library of high-quality royalty free music for videos, YouTube, advertising and films.

Brut.media/us - A global media company that creates short video news stories.

Agoodmovietowatch.com - This free website suggests excellent movies (and recently shows) that you might not know about. You can select or omit popular streaming services in your searches.

My.replika.ai - An AI companion designed to help you If you're feeling down, or anxious, or just need someone to talk to. Replika is here for you 24/7.

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Direct Mail Humor!

Click on image below to enlarge.

Do you need help marketing to your clients?   Talon can help!  Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 to learn how to increase revenue.

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