Guest View: Search Expert, Blogger Extraordinaire Posts 9 Prognostications About Your Future
As per my headline, for this issue of Catalog Success: The Corner View, I hand my pen — um, keyboard — over to Catalog Success E-Commerce Insights columnist Alan Rimm-Kaufman.
Alan heads the Rimm-Kaufman Group, an online agency providing large-scale paid search bid management and Web site testing services, and was formerly a marketing executive with the Crutchfield catalog of consumer electronics.
I leave the stage to Alan, who starts with a potential scenario followed by nine predictions for the future of the catalog/multichannel business as it affects you.
Scene: A bar at a conference hotel during a marketing trade show.
Bill: Tim? Is that you?
Tim: Bill! Let me buy you a beer. How long’s it been? Four years? You’re looking great.
Bill: Thanks. I think we last met up at a catalog conference in 2008. So yes, about four years ago now.
Tim: Gee, have things changed.
Tim: And it seems to just keep getting worse. Would you ever have imagined we’d look back on 2008 as the “good old days?” Postage at 42 cents? Gas at $4? Sheesh, cataloging was easy then.
Bill: Too true.
Tim: Prospecting and acquisition mailing was still legal in ’08, right? The Never-Mail-Me Act hadn’t yet passed, the catalog co-ops were still in business and you could still rent lists. Remember the old list rental business? All those brokers and managers? And back then Catalog Choice was the only Never-Mail house.
Bill: Different times. But how’s your business?
Tim: We’re hanging in there, but it’s really tough. We’ve been shrinking — another round of layoffs — and we’re down to only three titles. We keep losing sales to the Web pure-plays, and the brick-and-mortar retailers have killer virtual reality stores online. We’re still mailing catalogs to our buyers, but the response just isn’t there. How’s your work going?