George Hague

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.


Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail.

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:

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.

The Roman Catholic Church needs a serious brand makeover. It's gotten so bad that the previous CEO, aka Pope Benedict, gave his three weeks notice. Since he couldn't cite wanting to spend more time with his family, he intends to devote his life to prayer. Prayer? This brand really needs help. In selecting its new boss, the church's board of directors, aka the College of Cardinals, had to pull a rabbit out of their mitre. And did they.

Q: "I'm thinking about creating an online version of my print B-to-B catalog. Any best practices here? Also, what are typical response rates for online B-to-B catalogs?

— Steve Cates, director of e-commerce, Galls

We're excited to offer you Retail Online Integration's 50 best tips of 2010. Our editorial staff reviewed every word published in our print publication, e-newsletter (The ROI Report) and website over the past year. From there, we've extracted the best money-making and cost-saving pointers. Enjoy.

Retailers must make a concerted effort to get consumers' attention in today's fast-paced environment, where prospects are subjected to hundreds of adverting messages a day. When it comes to brand recognition, integration is the name of the game. For consumers to really connect with a brand, they must have the same brand experience online, in-store or with the catalog.

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