Merchandise Spotlight: Aqua Golf
August 1, 1999

IN SUMMERTIME, two activities that come to mind when the weather grows warm are taking a dip in the pool and heading out to the golf course. A surprising product found in seven (count ‘em!) catalogs this season that pairs these diverse pastimes is Aqua Golf. Aqua Golf consists of an artificial turf and foam island, a chipping mat, 12 velcro-covered, floatable plastic golf balls and a pin. Using their own clubs, golfers aim their shots to land Velcro wiffle balls onto the floating green. This game simulates the thrill of the challenging over-the-water shot on the golf course. These Catalogs

Traveling Through Digital Waters
August 1, 1999

JOHN MCMANUS is celebrating a birthday. Ten years ago this October, he and his wife Gloria released their first catalog: a 32-page, black-and-white collection of products to make travel easier. They called their creation Magellan’s. Today, McManus sounds like a proud father when he notes, “We’ve been on the Inc. magazine list of the 500 fastest-growing companies three years in a row (1995-1997). That’s a figure that we don’t mind sharing.” The cataloger’s annual revenue is up to $25 million and print runs vary between two and three million catalogs, with mailings scheduled four to five times a year. “We’ll be doing 100 pages,

Cataloging Hot Spots
August 1, 1999

In a world where anything more than a month old is in danger of being considered obsolete, rules of thumb are a happy exception—they take time to develop, and the best of them gain validity with age. In our last article we explored one of the oldest rules of thumb: the 1-percent response rate. In this column we’ll explore a rule that’s almost equally old: catalog hot spots. We often hear about catalog “hot spots”—those magical spots in our catalogs that can dramatically boost sales for almost any product we place there. But do such hot spots actually exist? Where are they, and why

Creating a Winning Catalog
May 1, 1999

Cataloging is not a beauty contest. Catalogers are in business to make money, so it’s not always the prettiest catalog that gets the best response or sells the most merchandise. While an aesthetically pleasing catalog works for apparel and home furnishing offerings, for some types of merchandise, a less pretty, more product-dense approach works better. The Damark catalog, featuring electronics and computers, is one such example. Damark focuses on product and price. It uses inexpensive paper instead of thick coated paper. It includes simple product shots instead of fancy spreads. It utilizes short, benefit-driven copy instead of long-winded, story copy. And it works:

Digital Photography Takes Off
February 1, 1999

Digital photography is maturing into its own image capture specialty. but novice beware: to succeed, you need to do more than just point and shoot. Photographs are the principal marketing tools of the retail catalog. The better the quality of the photograph—that is, its ability to express adequately the details and essence of the item—the higher the chance of customer satisfaction. Achieving enticing product shots traditionally requires a multi-step process, which includes: initial, instant film shots to test composition and lighting; the actual photo shoot; sending the film for development; waiting; checking the transparencies for accuracy; then re-shooting or digitally manipulating anything that comes