MAY 1990

You can spend thousands on a direct-mail campaign only to find you've filled more wastebaskets than orders. Polymer Plastics Corp., a company based in Mountain View, Calif., that sells printer circuit-board products, found a way to bypass the circular file. "If customers got a videotape in the mail, I figured they were going to have to look at it," says CEO Larry Stock. "Curiosity alone was going to kill them."

They don't just look. Stock estimates that when video catalogs accompany the paper catalogs, they generate 20 times the response of paper catalogs sent alone. After the videotapes were introduced, stagnant sales of one product line leaped from $10,000 a month to more than $20,000. Sales for Polymer's products have tripled to $2.3 million in the two years since the company started sending out the video catalogs.

Stock targeted the videos at customers, but "it's a real benefit to distributors, too," he says. Because the tapes demonstrate how to use the products, they serve as a sales and training tool that distributors can use in customer calls.