As has been its annual custom, B-to-B list firm MeritDirect’s annual co-op event in White Plains, N.Y. on July 12 was kicked off by a provocative and entertaining presentation by catalog veteran and futurist Don Libey.
Having heard Don speak plenty of times in the past (and despite his frequent speaking appearances, rarely does he repeat a single concept, strategy or idea), I’ve long since learned how to filter through his motivational pep talk and the meat of what he delivers. While always entertaining, his shtick is always chockfull of meat, but it often looks beyond tomorrow. And after all, we all want to know what we can do today, right?
Not to take anything away from his past presentations, but this one struck me as meatier than most because of its immediacy. Don’s typically made bold projections of what catalogers will have to do in order to survive tomorrow and beyond, sometimes way beyond. But he presented 20 “pillars” for catalog businesses to perform best — and profitably.
I felt these were worth the space of this edition of The Corner View, because of the remarkable combo of their relative “no-brainer-ness” and the remarkable number of companies that often struggle to adhere to them. He admittedly based these pillars on the standout structure of two catalog clients, one with less than $200 million in sales, the other with less than $20 million in sales, neither of which he’d reveal.
1. Vision. Catalog owners, Libey said, “have absolutely defined vision.” This results in the intentional creation of every element of the company when it comes to product, service, niche, people, training and communications.
But he pointed out that most companies tend to operate in a “blithe” mode; one of, “Let’s do this, this week and see what happens.”
Catalogers with vision, on the other hand, say “this is what we’re going to do and how we’ll do it,” Libey said.