ACCM Post-Mortem: A Last Hurrah?
4. The conference organization: Both the DMA and its partner Penton have endured extensive layoffs in recent months, and at times this became apparent at the conference. Employees lacking the past experience and know-how of this event did their best, but at times their inexperience and overall lack of manpower showed. All things considered, however, the event came off as well as could be expected.
5. The state of the business: Having done “my thing” at the conference as I’ve always done — picking as many brains as I could — I was both enlightened and disheartened with the types of people on hand. Gone were many of the smaller players in the catalog business. But there were some notable additions, such as representatives from Best Buy and Yahoo, along with stalwarts J.C. Penney and L.L.Bean.
As for where the business is headed, that all depends on how you define “the business” going forward. We’ve been preaching this throughout much of this year: There really is no longer a catalog business, per se. The companies (i.e., survivors) that were founded on catalog marketing need to focus more heavily on integrating their sales channels and letting their customers be their bosses.
We’ll never return to the good ole days of the catalog business, but as you know, during tough times like these, opportunities are out there to be had. And as we get through these transition years, we can emerge with a redefined business model and head for new good ole days.