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Direct Mail Industry News Finds Direct Mail Edge
By: Chantal Todé

Dec. 03, 2004 - While Wal-Mart has taken it on the chin from retail analysts this week because it discounted less aggressively over the Thanksgiving weekend than in previous years, another new -- and more successful -- promotional strategy from the Bentonville, AR, retailer has gone mostly unnoticed.

Wal-Mart mailed fliers in several large markets last week that do not have a Wal-Mart store, including New York, Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco and Boston. The fliers promoted specials available only online or by calling an 800 number. "" appears prominently on every page of the four-page mailer but nowhere is a Wal-Mart store mentioned.

Since this year was the first time Wal-Mart offered online specials for the Thanksgiving weekend, the fliers' goal was "to inform customers who don't have easy accessibility to a Wal-Mart store that they can easily shop Wal-Mart through," spokeswoman Amy Colella said.

In contrast with the stores, which experienced slower foot traffic and sales compared with Thanksgiving weeks in previous years, had "a very successful Thanksgiving Day and week online," Colella said. The company plans to evaluate the direct mailer's performance and will consider repeating the program next year.

Meanwhile, several newspaper articles this week indicate that Wal-Mart is reconsidering its decision to reign in its discounting thanks to the chain's sluggish performance in November.

Wal-Mart lowered its sales estimates for November on Saturday and now expects to report a 0.7 percent increase in same-store sales for the month. It previously projected a 2 percent to 4 percent gain. The chain cited a decline in customer traffic toward the end of the week that ended on Black Friday as a reason for the revision.

Industry consultant Donald R. Libey, who has predicted for several years that Wal-Mart might do a catalog, views last week's fliers as a precursor to that decision.

"I see it as a really unfortunate evolution if they do move to the point of a catalog because I believe that Wal-Mart, with its size and global reach, will have far more detriment on our industry than it will bring good," said Libey, managing director of Libey-Concordia, Philadelphia, an investment banking firm for the catalog industry.

Though shippers and printers would benefit from the additional business, other catalogers lack Wal-Mart's buying power and many would go the way of all the local mom-and-pop stores over the past several decades once Wal-Mart came to town, he said.

Noosh, Inc. Wins Crossroads A-List Award 2005

Noosh Direct Mail Solutions Recognized for Delivering Demonstrable Results for Business

BOSTON, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Noosh, Inc. today announced that their Noosh Direct Mail solution received a Crossroads A-List Award from Open Systems Advisors (OSA). For 12 years, the Crossroads A-List Awards have identified the best new technology solutions proven to deliver results. This year, OSA concentrated on evaluating solutions and services that addressed today's top business priorities for technology investment, with a particular focus on demonstrable results.

According to Nina Lytton, president and principal analyst of OSA, "The solution Noosh has developed for managing Direct Mail projects has successfully combined the three elements essential to mainstream adoption: focusing on an important problem; providing a viable solution; and, most importantly, delivering consistent business results for early reference accounts."

Earning a Crossroads A-List Award positions the Noosh Direct Mail solution as a leader. OSA has a unique and in-depth process of research and validation. Drawing on in-depth interviews with line-of-business and IT executives, the program identifies the newly proven solutions and services that are making the strongest contribution to business results for early customers right now. Interviews with these early adopters are key in determining qualifications for success including long-term strategic value, contribution to revenue growth, immediate business return, user productivity, and deployability. All the winning solutions have quick payback and material return on investment. In 2005, only five companies were honored with the Crossroads A-List Award.

According to Scott Gensler, Vice President of Marketing Operations and Planning at Erickson, "Erickson sends over 24 million pieces of direct mail each year and has found that as the complexity of the solicitations increased so did the costs and the difficulty in managing the project. Noosh has improved the visibility and control of our direct mail projects, allowing us to deliver more versioned mail by honing in on specific, narrowly defined cells (a target demographic) and mailing specific versions to each -- resulting in better return rates for our marketing and sales programs and reduced costs."

Noosh's Direct Mail solution allows companies to manage all the elements of a multi-component direct mail project -- from concept to completion -- in one place. Noosh streamlines version, print specification and production control, tracks schedules and manages services and component procurement -- eliminating the need to coordinate information from disparate systems. Noosh keeps projects on schedule and on budget and reduces the complexity of highly targeted direct mail projects -- resulting in significant improvements to business critical marketing/sales programs and a reduction in costs by 15% or more.

Full text of the Crossroads A-List Awards briefs can be accessed at .

About Open Systems Advisors

Open Systems Advisors, Inc. (OSA), founded in 1989, helps businesses align their priorities with their technology investments, and identify the best new technology solutions for today's business challenges. OSA conducts the Crossroads A-List Research and Awards program on an annual basis. The company provides strategic and marketing consulting services for technology vendors, and Bizno-tech(TM) advisory services for organizations looking to maximize the business value of their technology investments. Principal analyst Nina Lytton has spent 20 years analyzing major issues in applying technology to business. She provides consultation regarding IT user and vendor clients' most pressing issues in light of technical and market realities. The company can be reached by sending email to

About Noosh, Inc.

Noosh delivers Technology Enabled Outsourced and software-as-a-service Print Management Solutions that allow companies to leverage outsourced or internally managed print procurement strategies to achieve significant cost reductions and gain complete visibility and control of print expenditures. Over 6,000 individuals representing nearly 700 different organizations use Noosh Print Management solutions to manage more than $150MM of print annually. Noosh customers include Genworth Financial, Honeywell Consumer Products Group, Star Tribune Company and many other leading enterprises. For more information, please visit

Source: Noosh, Inc.


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