MeritDirect Event Panel Heading Back to the Future, Part 2
In a no-holds-barred, all-telling session during last week's MeritDirect Business Mailers Co-op in White Plains, N.Y., four B-to-B mailers discussed how they’re surviving the current economic malaise and their plans for emerging from it once the economy turns around.
In the first installment of this recap last week, we showed how they’re holding up. Here’s how they responded to other questions from session moderator Terry Jukes, president of e-commerce software provider Ability Commerce. Jukes asked what they’re doing to prepare for better times ahead.
The panelists included Bob Runke, president of Barco Products Co.; Mike Faith, CEO & president of Headsets.com, and a member of the All About ROI editorial advisory board; Neil Sexton, president/COO of Northern Safety; and Dick Nelson, CEO of MARCO Promotional Products.
Sexton: We’re not making bold prognostications. We’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. We’re investing in a brand-new system, which is the one decision we can’t get wrong. We have focused teams working on it.
We’ve usually been early to go in recessionary times and early to get out of them, so we want to get a foot on the accelerator for when things get better. We’re trying to plow into our marketing budget, and our profits are up this year. But stuff that’s worked extremely well for 25 years isn’t anymore. We can’t do things we want to do over the next 10 years without making an investment in a platform.
Runke: This recovery is going to take two to three years. The single best thing to do, and we’ve been doing this religiously all along, is make sure to have the best customer RFM data available. I have 41 separate reports published every month that dig into customers by segment, individual buying patterns and all sorts of things.