Scale & Scope
Taking full advantage of the benefits afforded by being the only carrier of these exclusives, Acorn makes sure these coveted titles are what the customer sees first. Until recently, every catalog cover featured an Acorn exclusive title. Now the company is testing catalogs with gift items featured prominently on the cover.
No stranger to changing tastes, Acorn’s management knows it must be flexible within its merchandising strategy to remain competitive. As noted earlier, the shift from documentaries to dramas began in 1994. In 1999, the company sensed a new shift and began licensing performance videos, such as “Bernadette Peters in Concert.” By 2003, there were almost no documentaries left in the catalog, but seeing the more recent commercial success of the documentary form, Acorn reintroduced it into the mix. As Edwards notes, the advent of the DVD may be changing the documentary market. The trick is to stay true to the idea that Acorn customers want their entertainment to be of exceptionally high quality.
The Right People Make All the Difference
From the beginning, Acorn Direct has relied on the expertise of its people to help it achieve success. Hiring several staff members directly from Rivertown Trading in 2000 was the first in a series of personnel appointments that seem to have helped Acorn realize its recent achievements. The catalog hit the ground running with the assistance of a merchandising and production team that had been working with the same products that Acorn was offering.
Having excelled on the catalog production side of the business, Edwards sought to bring multichannel expertise to the management team. Enter Miguel Penella, former vice president of customer marketing at Time-Life. Acorn executives are hoping Penella’s experience with catalog and Web marketing, as well as DRTV, will help the catalog maintain its momentum in the coming years.