Catalogers of the Year
That’s turned out to be a successful strategy indeed. Williams-Sonoma had two titles on this year’s Catalog Success Top 200 list, including Pottery Barn Kids (No. 12), which grew its 12-month housefile by a whopping 83 percent last year to 774,718. And Pottery Barn (No. 38) grew its housefile by 43 percent to 1.58 million.
Connolly says he’s passionate about cataloging. “The direct marketing industry is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the Internet,” he says. “The skill set used to analyze e-commerce is very similar to that required in the catalog/direct marketing business.”
Interestingly, when asked what he is most proud of in his personal life, Connolly again deflects the attention to others. “I’ve been fortunate that I have a wife who would drag me out of meetings in time to go to little league games.”
Connolly gives of his time and attention to other organizations as well. He is a member of the board of directors for both The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Norm Thompson Outfitters, a multititle catalog company. Moreover, he speaks passionately about industry-wide challenges, most notably consumers’ growing interest in privacy and data security issues and how they will impact direct marketers. “Every cataloger has to understand how these issues will impact their companies,” he says. “Then they have to be vocal about these issues to their elected officials, to educate them on the issues and what is responsible direct marketing. We need to get the officials’ support on the privacy and data security issues. Or we’ll find ourselves in a situation we find distasteful.
“We can’t rely solely on The DMA for help in these matters,” he continues. “Rather, every cataloger must reach out at their local level. And they must be responsible, be sure they’re using the best practices in data security and customer privacy.”