Mind the Gap
October 1, 2009

There's nothing today's customer dislikes more than falling into the gap between a company's online and offline operations. Feeling stranded, abandoned and disrespected, even previously loyal customers start looking elsewhere when channel conflict gets in the way of their needs. Customers want a coherent, seamless and positive experience — not your conflict.

Tailored Deals Bank Sales
September 1, 2009

With company-record net income of $58.4 million and sales gains of 15.2 percent (including comparable store sales rising 8.9 percent) for its fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, JoS. A. Bank was a rare 2008 success story.

Finding the Perfect Balance
June 1, 2009

This year's economic retreat actually stands to help Gaiam, a product and information services company with a heavy emphasis on sustainability, position itself for greater growth in the near future.

Ask 4 Questions Before Targeting B-to-G
May 1, 2009

Most B-to-B catalogers sell to the government, albeit in a passive mode. Using the SmartPay credit card, federal buyers appear on B-to-B buying lists with some regularity. When properly targeted, they can become a significant percentage of any B-to-B cataloger’s business.

The 2009 Catalog Success 200
April 1, 2009

The Catalog Success 200 presents a keen way of showing which catalog/multichannel marketers have been on the fast track. It tracks those that have rented out their housefiles in the past two years. There may be others out there, but without the numbers for the market to view, they can’t be charted. Companies highlighted in red are either B-to-B or hybrids.

How to Survive a Recession
December 16, 2008

Someone asked me last week, "What are the best ways to survive a recession?" Without thinking much, I responded, “Love the customers you got!" As I began to reflect on my knee-jerk answer, I realized just how important it is for B-to-B catalogers to do just that.

6 Tips to Increase Your Productivity in 2009
December 9, 2008

As many catalog/multichannel B-to-B and B-to-C marketers do their annual planning and budgeting for 2009 right about now, I suspect many are having a difficult time given the events of the past six months. Who really knows what 2009 will bring?

Now Is the Time to Review Outsourcing Opportunities
December 2, 2008

Given the tough economic times and sales levels that are most likely below plan, most B-to-B catalog managers are looking to reduce overhead costs without affecting revenue-driving activities. Much of the “low-hanging fruit” has been had when it comes to cost savings, and I submit that now is the time that many of you must face “significant structural change” as an option. Inevitably, your discussions will lead you to consider outsourcing noncore functions in your company.
The first question you might be asking is, “What’s a noncore function?” The answer varies for every company, but generally, I consider noncore functions to be anything that

B-to-B Cataloging: Hire or Outsource?
December 1, 2008

The most successful catalog/multichannel marketers follow a proven principle: They know what they do well, and they outsource what they don’t. To be a successful B-to-B multichannel merchant, you need to staff or outsource 10 core competencies, which are unique to multichannel merchants. These are merchandising/product development, branding, creative, marketing, database, Internet, call center, inventory, fulfillment and print management. Take a moment to identify which of these you staff internally and those that you outsource; then ask these questions: 1. Can you identify the person in charge of this competency? Someone needs to actively run each of these areas. If one of the

What’s the Failed Search Rate on Your Web Site?
November 11, 2008

I had an interesting debate with a client the other day about internal site search failure rates for B-to-B catalogers. He asked me what I thought the acceptable rate of internal site search was. He suggested that 15 percent, 20 percent or even 25 percent was “normal.”
B-to-B marketers know the ease with which customers can find the product(s) they want when shopping on your site is key. Unlike their B-to-C counterparts, B-to-B marketers often have more than 100,000 items listed on their sites. Large B-to-B catalogers can have more than 500,000, and I know of at least one who has more than 1