Behind the Scenes of BCP – Summer Catalog
The BestCigarPrices marketing department has been working tirelessly to produce our biggest catalog of the year, the early summer/Father’s Day issue. We’ve finished, they’re printed, and as I write this thousands of them are currently making their way across the country towards the mailboxes of all the loyal customers on our mailing list. I’ve wanted to give our blog readers more “behind-the-scenes” views of our company for a while now, and since I’m so pleased with the result of our catalog I thought this would be the perfect segment to start letting you in on some of our company secrets.
Zac & I always start the catalog process off by going over the previous issue and trying to identify stuff that worked well and stuff that didn’t work so well. At this stage we also brainstorm new ideas to improve the content, design and overall structure. For this particular catalog the best idea we came up with was organizing the product into a few different sections. This way if someone is looking for say, a flavored cigar, they can view the 4 pages in the Flavored section to get a side-by-side comparison of many different flavored smokes we offer. Ideally this will save them from flipping through 64 pages of items to pick out the 4 pages worth of flavored cigars. The other categories we put together for this issue are High Rollers, Father’s Day Gifts, Samplers, Free Shipping, Bundle Deals, Full Bodied, Accessories, and Golf Accessories. We think this is going to significantly improve the shopping experience, so if there are more categories YOU would like to see in our catalogs, let us know!
The next step is where my workload is the heaviest, product selection and deals. This is where I decide what makes the cut and what doesn’t, and what product will get free bonus items or free shipping. I also get to pick what the free bonuses will be. This part has me logging tons of phone hours hounding the manufacturing companies for free stuff. I can be very persuasive in convincing our vendors that their cigars will sell better with some freebies to go along with them. All the hard work pays off in the end when we can offer incredibly cool freebies to go along with many brands in the catalog to provide you with an even better value. This is also an area where some feedback from all of you is much appreciated. I always think that free cigars are the best bonus items. I know lighters, cutters, etc are essential and nice, but I know lots of you guys come to us to stock up on your favorites. If you buy the same box four times during our catalog period, do you really need four lighters? The one thing I know for sure you can’t have too many of is tasty cigars. If you guys disagree, let me know and you’ll start seeing lots more accessory items as bonuses.
Once I’ve got product selected and deals laid out, I turn it over to Zac to perform his graphic wizardry. Dianna (who doesn’t blog yet) is the one behind the camera getting all the nice shots. Once she shoots them, Zac makes sure they look so tantalizing you could pull them right off the page. Zac is nice enough to let me offer the occasional suggestion, but for the most part he just goes for it and it comes out looking outstanding on the other side. Writing all the copy comes along at this stage, and it can be very entertaining. Zac & I share this job as best we can, Zac took more of the job than usual this time around. I enjoy this part a lot, I like to write, plus I get to learn a ton of stuff about the cigars we’re featuring through heavy research. I already know a whole lot, but there is always more to learn.
The last step is the most difficult, but maybe the most important. That is of course, proofreading! I have lots of staff members look over pages, checking sizes, prices, countries or origin, MSPRs, etc etc etc. I do three separate passes myself, at the beginning, the middle and the final pass where I read each and every letter, number and anything else in the entire book. In addition to my OCD level of perfectionism for accuracy, I know that incorrect information can lead customers to be misinformed about what they are trying to purchase. I take this step very seriously, but it can’t ALWAYS be perfect. Rest assured I’m doing my best, and I apologize in advance if there are any mix-ups in this issue. I’m still holding out hope that this one is perfect!
Once we are finished with the proofing process, we go to press. They get printed and mailed and hopefully are received, read and enjoyed by all of you. I take great pride in putting out an industry-leading catalog, so any criticism, compliments or suggestions are incredibly valuable to me. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed the first (of many) behind the scenes looks at BestCigarPrices.com.