B-to-B Insights

A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.


Smart CEOs know two essential B-to-B metrics to successfully grow their businesses: contribution per order (CPO) for new customers and life-time value (LTV) of existing customers. They may sound difficult to figure out, but the process is actually easy.

Tribute bands pretend to be something else. Their motivation may be out of admiration, but essentially these musicians copy successful bands right down to dress, hair style and accent. Tribute bands appeal to a subset of fans of the bands being imitated. They limit their potential by pretending to be musicians perceived to be more talented than themselves. Is your company a tribute band? Are you constantly pretending to be your competitor? Here are some ways to tell:

Many consumer catalogers have unknown gold nuggets in their database. These nuggets are called businesses. If you treat these high-value customers as if they're retail customers, you're missing a big opportunity. If your product line has this cross-over appeal, you could potentially double your sales through expansion into the B-to-B universe.

Concerned about privacy? Now you can see what data has been collected on you. I was in for a shock. In an admirable move toward transparency, Acxiom, one of the largest data collection companies in the world, will show you a summary of your personal data. You can see its view into your world at AbouttheData.com. The shock for me? Acxiom got me just plain wrong.

Our cable bill doubled. Apparently we had an introductory rate — which lasted more than five years. We had nearly 500 channels, and nothing ever seemed to be on, so we cut cable. Cold turkey. Even returned the cable company's DVR full of unwatched episodes of nothing in particular.

It's official: J.C. Penney scrapped its every-day-low-price strategy for the rollercoaster world of markups and markdowns. Merchants, marketers and graphic artists waited with bated breath, hoping J.C. Penney could make this strategy work. Imagine the time it would save! Price changes and errors would be a thing of the past.

More Blogs