A Chat With January's Profile, Brendan Edgerton, vice president of direct marketing, Crutchfield Co. (Text & Audio)
CS: With your outlook shifting in the last six to eight months, does this signify an increased reliance on online tools such as search engine marketing and e-mail marketing?
BE: In my area we balance the whole portfolio of SEM, SEO, our affiliate space, the work we do with price-comparison sites, reports up through me, so I kind of try to manage it as a portfolio. So if cost per new buyer is getting out of alignment in one area, we'll ratchet down spend there. I wouldn't say it's a movement right now of chips on the board where we're saying, “OK, X amount of spend is not going to catalog and it's coming over here to the Web.” I'd say it's more a matter of making sure the catalog works as hard as it can — whether that's through product density, controlling who we're mailing to, controlling the frequency of our mailings. Again, the focus will be on breadth but perhaps less on depth. There are new techniques I think to developing a print strategy that is synergistic with Web, whether it's unique 800 numbers, tracking codes that convert online, that type of stuff. I think the focal point for us will be on making sure we are allocating and measuring the performance of these vehicles correctly.
CS: Professionally, where do you see yourself in five years?
BE: One thing I'm enjoying know is some leadership in the community at-large from a catalog standpoint. So getting involved with the strategic advisory board with the DMA, helping to shore us up as an industry. I like that component of both advocacy, training, development across different companies of some core ways to cut back on costs, improve efficiency, get smarter about mailings … reaching out to the vendor community to do some of the same. So our printers, list providers, merge/purge shops. A theory I have right now is that if we allow direct to become a smaller piece let's say, or cataloging become a smaller piece of a customer's consideration, then we all lose together because customers are less trained or a catalog is less top of mind as a vehicle to get them either to a store, to a Web site or to a phone to engage somebody. It's kind of like a muscle that needs to be flexed fairly routinely. If less people are using that means, or less people become comfortable or familiar with that means to make their purchases, it atrophies over time. Certainly, has the role of print changed, has it evolved, will it continue to change? Absolutely. But I'm enjoying that part of the next evolution, and that is helping to shore up the industry as a whole and make sure that we are as efficient and as healthy as we can be on a go-forward basis.