Branding

Just Puttering Along
April 1, 2001

According to estimates, there are about 650,000 active licensed pilots in the United States, including about 100,000 who work for airlines. So, by any measure, the market for catalog companies selling supplies to individual, recreational or hobbyist pilots is not very big. But this market, known as “general aviation,” is potentially lucrative, owing to the upscale demographics of the target group. How well are general aviation catalogs marketing their wares? How good is their overall strategy and positioning? We shared a number of general aviation equipment catalogs with renowned direct marketing guru Estin Kiger. We wanted to get his viewpoint on what these

Case Study: Brooks Brothers on the Cutting Edge
March 1, 2001

Just before I sat down to write this, The New York Times reported the death of yet another beloved—albeit little known—boutique institution, Gorsart Clothes. The downtown Manhattan men’s clothier had served the Wall Street community since 1921. In the words of Times writer Sherri Day, The last straw may have been the advent of casual Fridays—and Thursdays and Wednesdays—which eliminated much of the need for the crisply tailored suit and the power tie. Where Gorsart was unable to change with the times, another great New York men’s clothier, Barney’s, changed too much—only to be taken over by its creditors in 1996. Founded in

Case Study: Multiple Zones International
October 1, 2000

There’s nothing like having a billionaire for a neighbor. Especially one that throws a little business your way, like Microsoft did when it named Multiple Zones International (MZI) its chief supplier of computer hardware, software and services. The contract is one of many changes taking place at MZI. Since moving online in 1995, MZI has seen fast growth in revenue and transactions, creating a $115-million company. What began in 1989 as a three-title catalog company with PC Zone, Mac Zone and The Learning Zone, has grown into a multi-channel retail operation that includes a new business-to-business division. The new Zones Business Solutions division is

Continuity Marketing: Pleasures and Pitfalls
May 1, 2000

Several years ago I went to Peter, my doctor, for a routine checkup and saw some colorful boxes on the end of the counter. Patricia, the office manager and Peter’s wife, said they were dietary supplements for people over the age of 50. “Should I get them?” I asked. “I take them and I feel wonderful,” she said. “Do you and Peter get a piece of the action?” She said she did, which I had no problem with. So I ordered LifePak Prime for my wife Peggy and myself—60 little cellophane packages, each with four horse pills to be taken twice a day with

Case Study: Sundance Catalog
April 1, 2000

Nestled at the base of Utah’s Mount Timpanogos, among the giant pine trees lies a small 6,000-acre village. Established in 1969 by Robert Redford, the area has become an educational resource for artists and a place of recreation that fosters social and environmental responsibility. The resort area was purchased by Redford with his earnings from the 1967 film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” from which the village gets its name. In the past 30 years, Sundance has become more than a tiny village of beauty. It is now home to a host of non-profit organizations founded by Redford, including The Sundance Film Festival,

Separating Yourself From the Competition
January 1, 2000

Created on an island known for its leisurely, laid back attitude, the Black Dog Holiday Catalog is obviously an organic product of its surroundings and customers. It sells the wares of the 30-year-old Black Dog tavern and bakery of Martha’s Vineyard. The 56-page holiday catalog doubles as a monthly calendar for year-round use. Inside is Black Dog paraphernalia displayed through illustrations and customers’ personal snap shots. The book is laid out in seemingly incongruous themes, such as dogs, kids, outdoor activities and events, but is unified by the island lifestyle. Much effort goes into differentiating the 12-year-old catalog from others, but the

Personalized Web Merchandising
October 1, 1999

Instead of just repurposing copy and images, rethink your Web catalog for more effective merchandising Personalization and variable data printing are making their marks on the print catalog world, but the place where customized merchandising techniques are likely to shine is the Web. While a print catalog is static, a Web catalog is dynamic and can be generated in order to meet the needs of the customer at hand. Explains Vahe Katros, director of retail applications at Blue Martini, a San Mateo, CA-based company that creates Web merchandising software: There’s two issues to versioning catalogs: how many different merchandise assortments you can

E-mail Marketing: Communicating Effectively
October 1, 1999

In the online battle for customer loyalty, catalogers have increasingly turned to e-mail marketing. However, an e-mail in-box—like the home telephone—is a communication channel that consumers rail against when it’s used to trick them into hearing a sales pitch. Unlike the postal mail box, consumers take personal umbrage at hearing “You’ve got mail!” for messages, not from friends, but from companies out to sell something unsolicited. Catalogers’ e-mails, then, must be user-friendly. Effective e-mail marketing campaigns can result in double-digit response rates, increased sales and exponential growth in e-mail address lists. On the other hand, impersonal bulk newsletters, excessive e-mailings and complicated opt-out systems

Going Global
October 1, 1999

Although Peruvian Connection didn’t launch its first international catalog until 1994, CEO and Co-founder Annie Hurlbut maintains the cataloger was an international company long before its first foray into the global market. As its name suggests, the Peruvian Connection has shared its history with the country and mountain people of Peru. Peruvian Connection began as a “happenstance” when Annie Hurlbut came home for her mother Biddy’s 50th birthday at Christmastime in 1976. At the time she was conducting research in Peru in pursuit of a doctoral degree in anthropology. As a gift she gave her mother an alpaca sweater she found in a Peruvian