Case 2: Do Gucci Catalogs Stack Up in Direct Marketing?
Catalogs, one type of direct mail merchandising, have been
increasing in popularity as consumers look toward convenience in
their shopping. Catalog business has even been expanding on the
international horizon, Harris Catalog Library has offered 1,250
domestic and international catalogs for patrons to order from. Catalog
libraries can be found close to home in U.S. libraries, and as far away
as Japanese department stores. The Japanese have been especially
fond of shopping by catalog, since by ordering American products
directly from catalogs, savings up to 30 or 40 percent can be had over
local retailers. Total U.S. catalog sales were $78.6 billion in 1997 and
were expected to top $95 billion in 2002. Approximately 12 billion
catalogs are produced each year in the U.S. If all catalog and mail-
order sales are combined, they accounted for about 4% of all U.S. retail
sales in 1998.
Closer to home, American catalog marketers have been striving
to increase sales and promote catalog growth on the domestic horizon.
The big dilemma facing these marketers is how to accomplish this goal
— a difficult task, since look-alike catalogs and merchandising is
standard in the industry. The problem is only compounded by the
fact that attempts to break out of this trend are unusual for catalog
marketers — especially due to the fact that the industry occupies one
of the most conservative locations on the American marketing
A few catalog marketers have made attempts to break away
from the traditional modes of catalog marketing. Gucci is one such
company which employs innovative marketing techniques. Gucci's
unorthodox style emerged in 1985 when the Gucci autumn/winter
catalog took a new distribution route in the U.S. — for the first time
Gucci catalogs were made available in bookstores.
Gucci had fallen on bad times in the early 1980s, but had
revitalized itself by the nineties primarily by the leadership of
Maurizio Gucci, the owner and original designer for the company.
Despite the killing of Maurizio Gucci by his wife in March of 1995,
Gucci has continued to expand its presence both globally, and in the
United States. They have added twenty-five new stores over the past
three years to bring their worldwide total to 158 in 1997. They also
tripled their revenues from 1993 to 1997. A great deal of their
strategy involved creating a unified image for Gucci worldwide and
discontinuing products that did not fit that image. Gucci’s CEO,
Domenico De Sole, has personally traveled the globe to visit Gucci’s
stores and has closed several that do not present Gucci’s products
effectively. Part of revitalizing Gucci’s image has been with a catalog
of very high standard. According to a company spokesperson, “the
amount that Gucci spends on catalogs is unheard of in the industry.”
Described as a product in itself, the Gucci catalog was predicted
to generate interest that went beyond the typical catalog. It was said
to even have an editorial appeal. Released in early September, the
Gucci catalog came with a cover price of $5. Five thousand copies of
the catalog were given to Crown Publishers for distribution, and Gucci
began courting other booksellers such as Rizzoli, Endicott,
Waldenbooks, and B. Dalton. Containing 96 color pages, the book was
produced in-house at a very high budget.
Apart from bookstores, the Gucci catalog was also available in
Gucci stores and was mailed out free of charge to 50,000 of Gucci's
best customers. The merchandise shown in the catalog was available
in the stores, by mail, or by telephone. Furthermore, this strategy
allowed Gucci to determine where the customer got his/her catalog.
The order forms in each catalog were coded to indicate whether the
catalog was distributed through bookstores, the Gucci stores, or
through the mail.
While this campaign was not as successful as Gucci would have
liked, the company has not given up on the idea of developing a new
approach to generate growth and sales. In particular, Gucci is hoping
to gain a competitive advantage by capitalizing on the latest high
technology development for direct marketers — automated voice
Automated voice response (AVR), also known as audiotex,
combines computer intelligence with telephone accessibility — a
phenomenon with tremendous marketing applications. Recently, this
technique has leapt to even greater heights with the introduction of
interactive 900 numbers. Unlike an 800 number, where the marketer
pays the cost, the cost of the 900 number call is passed on to the
consumer. This is done by billing the caller on their monthly phone
bill, and the marketer receives any money that is left after the
telephone company deducts its charge.
The marketing department at Gucci thinks that it might use AVR
technology to build catalog readership. They feel confident that they
could do this by working under the assumption that "...the more time
people spend poring over the pages of a catalog, the more likely they
are to find something in there that they can't live without." In order
to gain readership, a catalog readership game, which requires a touch-
tone phone would be employed. On the cover of the catalog the
reader would be informed that, scattered throughout the catalog,
there are lucky numbers. When lucky numbers are found, the person
should dial the game phone number (which could be an 800 or 900
number) and punch in the lucky numbers, along with their personal
identification code (PIN). The person should try to find as many lucky
numbers as possible, since the more lucky numbers a person has, the
greater the discount on purchases they make from the catalog. This
game, therefore, not only benefits Gucci by stimulating readership
(due to the consumer's increased scrutiny of the catalog for lucky
numbers); but serves as an inducement for the customer to make a
Unfortunately, while the marketing department feels that they
have a winning strategy, top management is not so sure. Before
authorizing the implementation of this plan, top management wants a
marketing researcher to discover if the plan is a viable one. Based on
the researcher's report, management will decide whether or not to
give marketing the green light.
1) Gucci corporate spokesperson, catalog marketing department,
personal interview, May 1998.
Gene G. Marcial, “Scuffed-up Gucci May Get a Shine,”
Week (August 4, 1997): 65.
3) Institutional Investor
Ida Picker, “Brand Rescue,” (April 1997):
Faye Rice, “The Turnaround Champ of Haute Couture,”
(November 24, 1997): 305-6.
5) The Wall Street
“Gucci Resurfaces as Fast-Growing Firm,”
Journal(October 8, 1995): Col. 1, PA14(W), PA16(E).
Case 2 Questions
1) Marketing research involves the identification, collection,
analysis, and dissemination of information. Explain how each of these
phases of marketing research applies to Gucci's problem.
2) Is the problem facing Gucci a case of problem identification
research or problem solution research? Explain.
3) How can Gucci use MIS or DSS to assist them in their study?
1) Before marketing research can effectively be carried out, a
marketing research problem must be defined. However, to arrive at a
problem definition, the first thing that must occur is the analysis of
the Environmental Factors of the problem. In the Gucci catalog
scenario, what information, relevant to the construction of a problem
definition, can be obtained from the following factors and how might
it be obtained?
2) What is the management decision problem?
3) What is the marketing research problem?
4) While the tasks undertaken to help define the problem (i.e.
discussions with management, interviews with experts, secondary
data analysis, and qualitative research) are also helpful in developing
an approach to the marketing research problem, two other techniques
may be used when developing an approach. What are these
techniques, and how might they be employed in the case of Gucci?
5) Regardless of which techniques are used to develop the problem,
the approach development process should produce several outputs.
What output might result from the approach process applied to the
Gucci scenario, in terms of:
a. Objective/Theoretical Foundations
b. Research Questions
1) Can exploratory research be used in this case? How?
2) Can descriptive research be used in this case? How?
3) Can causal research be used in this case? How?
4) What potential non-sampling sources of error would you, as the
researcher, need to consider as you develop your research design?
1) What internal sources of secondary data can you identify which
would be helpful to Gucci?
2) What published sources of secondary data can you identify
which would be helpful?
3) Would you recommend using syndicate sources of secondary
data? If so, which ones would you recommend?
4) How can the buying power index (BPI) be used by Gucci?
1) Which exploratory research techniques would you recommend
2) Develop a moderator's outline for a focus group to assess
consumer desires in catalog purchases with respect to Gucci.
3) Devise word association techniques to measure consumer
associations which may affect attitudes towards catalogs.
4) Design sentence completion techniques to uncover underlying
1) Which of the following criteria for selecting survey methods are
most important in this case. Check all that apply.
2) Which survey method would you recommend to Gucci to conduct
descriptive research? Why? What are the limitations of this mode?
3) Can observational methods be used to collect data? How? What
are the limitations of your method?
1) Is causal research necessary in this case? If so, which
experimental designs would you recommend and why? If not, devise
a scenario in which it would be?
2) What extraneous variables are threats to the internal and
external validity in the design you have selected?
3) If a mall-intercept interview is used and Gucci conducts causal
research without randomizing respondents, which pre-experimental
design would you recommend? What threats to internal and external
4) Can you think of any way in which the static group design above
can be randomized to increase its validity?
CHAPTERS 8 & 9
1) In constructing an item for a questionnaire, Gucci decides to use
a noncomparative itemized rating scale to measure attitudes (i.e., like
or dislike) towards Gucci catalogs. They ask you to construct a Likert
scale for this item and want your advice on the number of scale
categories, balanced or unbalanced design, odd or even number of
categories and the anchors to use. Give Gucci your opinion on these
decisions with justification and construct the scale.
2) What types of comparative scales can be used to gather the
information needed on motivation, attitudes, and intentions? Design
3) What types of noncomparative scales can be used to gather the
information needed on psychographics, motivation, attitudes, and
4) In designing scales for the survey, when you have a choice of
comparative or noncomparative scales, which scales do you
5) How would you determine the reliability of the scales?
6) How would you assess the validity of the scales?
1) What challenges exist in this case in meeting the three
objectives of a questionnaire?
2) Design a questionnaire to be used in a survey.
Answer questions 1 through 4 assuming that a personal interview is
1) What is the target population for this study?
2) What sampling frame can you use?
3) What sampling technique do you recommend for this study?
4) What nonresponse issues must be considered and how can they
1) Suppose Gucci conducts a preliminary market study of twelve
respondents to determine the average amount of a discount
respondents would like from a promotional game. The mean response
is calculated to be $5.00. If Gucci wants to be 90% sure that the true
value lies within $0.50 of this figure, how large a sample do they need
to survey given that the sample standard deviation is $2.00? What is
the confidence interval for the mean based on the preliminary market
2) Suppose after conducting the experiment in exercise 2, Gucci
learns that these observations generated a mean of $6.00 and sample
standard deviation of $3. What is a better estimate of the 90%
confidence interval than previously calculated?
Answer the following questions assuming an in-home personal
interview is being conducted.
1) What characteristics would you look for when hiring field
workers for this survey?
2) What issues are most important in training your field workers
for this survey?
3) What issues must you as the supervisor be most concerned with
during the interviewing?
4) How would you validate the field work?
5) How would you evaluate the success of your field workers?
1) Suppose the following responses appeared on completed
questionnaires which you as the supervisor of the project are editing.
What is the problem with the responses and how would you treat
a. How likely are you to participate in this promotional game?
Not so Likely Maybe/Maybe Not Very Likely
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Please explain why or why not?
Games sometimes are fun.
For the next two questions, assume that we can not recontact the
respondent, only 3 unsatisfactory responses exist and the
sample size is 200.
b. How likely are you to participate in this promotional game?
Not so Likely Maybe/Maybe Not Very Likely
1 2 3 4 5 X 7
Please explain why or why not?
I don't like games. They bore me and really don't save
any money when you buy something
c. How likely are you to participate in this promotional game?
Not so Likely Maybe/Maybe Not Very Likely
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Please explain why or why not?
I probably wouldn't play the game since it takes too much
time to look through the whole catalog. I usually know
what I want and go right to it.
2) Develop a codebook for the first 7 questions in the questionnaire
constructed Question 2 of Chapter 10.
3) Suppose the results Gucci obtains from its survey are biased in
terms of income level, with poor people underrepresented in the
sample. If the national and sample percentages are as given below
for the various classes of income level, what weights would you use to
transform the data?
Income Level Percent Percent
1. $10,000 or less 5% 10%
2. $10,001 to 20,000 5% 20%
3. $20,001 to 30,000 25% 30%
4. $30,001 to 40,000 40% 20%
5. $40,001 to 60,000 15% 15%
6. $60,001 and over 10% 5%
1) Suppose you administered the survey designed in Chapter 10,
and you collected data from 250 respondents (see Appendix for
details). Run the following analyses on the data and draw conclusions
from the results obtained.
a. Run descriptive statistics and obtain frequency distributions for all
variables. Interpret the results.
b. Determine if the catalogs received, playing promotional games,
awareness of Gucci, receiving Gucci catalogs, looking through Gucci
catalogs, and purchasing from a Gucci catalog are related to any of the
demographic variables. If results are poor, you may have to create
dummy variables in order to obtain valid results.
c. Conduct a one-way analysis of variance to see if there is any
difference in responses to the demonstration catalog shown (Q13)
between those who receive catalogs and those who do not. If
differences exist, determine if differences also exist between those
who receive Gucci catalogs, those who receive other catalogs and those
who receive no catalogs.
d. Regress each of the four dimensions of promotional games (Q5) on
the respondents attitudes towards playing promotional games (Q6).
e. Run a discriminant analysis on CATREC (Q1), the catalogs currently
received, using Q6 (opinions on playing games in catalogs) as the
independent variables. Then run a discriminant analysis on CATREC
using Q7 (evaluations of company catalogs) as the independent
f. Conduct a two group discriminant analysis to determine differences
between those who receive catalogs and those who do not receive
catalogs based on the ratings of the promotional game which the
respondents have seen (Q14). Then run the analysis using Q16
(intentions to shop from catalogs).
g. Run a factor analysis of Q6 to determine any underlying
dimensions upon which playing games are evaluated. Then factor
analyze Q7 to determine any underlying dimensions related to
attitudes towards catalogs.
h. Factor analyze Q14 and Q16 to see if there are any underlying
dimensions in the attitudes towards the new Gucci promotional game
and the intentions toward shopping from a catalog, respectively.
i. Factor analyze the psychographic items (Q18), save the factor
scores, and cluster them using a non-hierarchical method. Save the
cluster centers and conduct an ANOVA with intention towards
shopping from a catalog in order to determine which cluster of
respondents is the most likely to participate in the game.
1) Prepare an executive summary of the results from the study.
Specifically, answer the research questions which were posed at the
beginning of the study.
1) As mentioned in the Gucci scenario, the Japanese are especially
fond of shopping by catalog for American products, since they have
been able to save up to 30 or 40 percent on these items. Suppose
Gucci wanted to expand into the Japanese market and wished to
assess the feasibility of the Lucky Numbers game for Japanese
consumers. Should Gucci conduct a marketing research study in Japan
in a manner identical to the one used in the U.S.? If not, in what ways
should they modify this study to evaluate Japanese consumers'
responses to the Lucky Numbers game?
1) Name and describe three unethical behaviors that a marketing
researcher might act upon in their handling of Gucci's research project.
2) Which stakeholder would be affected if Gucci printed misleading
or inaccurate marketing research results in its new catalog?