A Path to the Present
Headquarters: Cranston, RI
Year founded: 1952
Merchandise: jewelry, tableware, gifts, collectibles and home decor
Business: 75 percent direct (catalog/Web); 25 percent retail
Customer base: 700,000 12-month catalog/Web buyers
Role at Ross-Simons: Marshall’s staff of nine includes catalog, Web site and retail marketers, as well as Web creative, merchandisers and creative design people.
“Everything we do is focused on selling to the customer. It’s exciting working together to that end — being able to define a U.S.P. (unique selling proposition) and to make an offer. I love the direct marketing aspect of my job. You can test, get results and roll out.”
Grew up in: Potomac, MD, but she has stayed in New England ever since college.
Education: New England College, B.A., marketing.
Stops along the way to Ross-Simons: She got her first taste of the catalog industry in 1990 at DM Management, whose properties include J.Jill, Nicole Summers and The Very Thing. As director of marketing, she learned more about the database and merge side of the business. In 1994 she was recruited by Johnny Appleseeds. It was then, as vice president of marketing, she says she fell in love with the catalog business.
Recently, Marshall worked at L.L. Bean and Eziba. At L.L. Bean, she worked on growing the launch of both the L.L. Bean VISA card program and Freeport Studios catalog. “I had the chance to use all of the skills I had learned along the way to build a circulation-acquisition plan.”
Business role models: George Berman at DM Management: “He taught me the basics of multiple title catalog marketing.” And Fran Phillip at L.L. Bean: “She showed me the importance of having one point of view for your catalog — across the entire catalog operation, from merchandising and marketing to creative.”
Thoughts on the current catalog market: “The increasingly competitive nature of off-price retailing is making it more challenging for catalogers like us. Our consumers now can go into any Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy the same Lenox (china) we sell. We’re working to combat that by offering high-quality merchandise at lower-than-retail prices.”