Operations: Plan Ahead for Emergency Preparedness
March 1, 2005

If these last few years have taught us anything, it’s that you can’t be too prepared. From terrorist attacks to hurricanes and tsunamis, the unexpected could be just around the corner., the Web site for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, offers the following tips on how to make sure your business is prepared to deal with and recover from emergencies beyond your control. 1. Figure out which staff, materials and equipment are required to keep your business operating. Have you reviewed and updated your business process flow chart recently? 2. Make sure you know which suppliers, shippers and other resources you need

Nine Catalog Management Mistakes to Avoid
December 1, 2004

We’ve all done dumb things that I’m sure seemed smart at the time we were doing them. I look back to my 33-year career as a cataloger and can think of things I did that were really silly. It’s all part of the learning experience. This month, I’m taking a slightly different approach from my normal columns. At the suggestion of my friend and client Shep Moyle, president and CEO of Stumps catalogs, I’ve devised a list of nine catalog management mistakes to avoid. 1. Don’t hire experts, even when needed. Or hire/fire the wrong person. I’ve seen this happen:

Six Qualities Every Goal Must Have
November 21, 2004

Each business or personal goal you set should have specific qualities that offer you the best chance to accomplish them, according to Herbert Harris, author of “The Twelve Universal Laws of Success,” (LifeSkill Institute, Wilmington, N.C.). 1. The goal should be written down, committed to and even shared with others who will support and believe in your efforts, Harris writes. 2. Make sure the goal is realistic and attainable.”One of the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure is to select improper goals,” he continues. 3. The goal should be flexible and reflect change. 4. Make it concrete and measurable. “When the desired outcome is unclear, the

Cut Costs or Invest
November 1, 2004

Every business manager such as yourself must balance the need to cut costs vs. invest for growth. Which way the scale tips depends on several things, including the general state of the economy, political events, your own bottom line, and your company’s merchandising and operational strategies. As a business editor, I’ve noticed many articles published in the last few years touting cost-cutting measures. But as the economy rebounds, more and more attention is being paid to business investment for revenue growth. This month we offer articles for both camps. Our cover story examines the growth plans of gourmet food cataloger Mackenzie Limited.

Create Your Direct Marketing Dream Team
October 12, 2004

One of the keys to direct marketing success is to create a team of individuals who work well together for the common good without sacrificing individual integrity. The factors to consider when creating your dream team include the following: 1. Every member must bring a specialized skill set to the group, with an understanding that different skill sets may take priority at any given time. Unique talents strengthen the organization when they are used as needed. Continuous focus on a specific area will reduce the overall effectiveness of your company. 2. All team members must respect one another. Since respect has to be earned, it takes

A Road to Success
October 1, 2004

In years past, automobiles were distinctive. Each model made a statement about itself and its owner. Today, many cars tend to look similar. The handful of exceptions include the Mini Cooper, PT Cruiser, VW Beetle, Bentley, Porsche and, of course, the Corvette. Since first introduced in 1953 by legendary designer Harley J. Earl (1893-1969), about 1.25 million Corvettes have been built, and more than 1 million are still on the road. Every year in late August more than 5,000 of these sleek muscle cars converge on the Carlisle, Pa., fairgrounds to be bought, sold, swapped and ogled by 60,000 enthusiasts, while more than

Golfsmith’s Course of Action: Focus on Multichannel Commerce
August 1, 2004

From the moment you pull into the 40-acre Golfsmith campus in Austin, Texas, you know you’re in a golfers’ mecca. But as it turns out, the company’s on-site driving range and golf academy are just the beginning. Inside the 92,000 square-foot corporate headquarters, there’s a putting green for employees, and a large retail store complete with indoor waterfall and Clubhouse Café. The clubmaking workshop not only crafts custom-made clubs, it also holds weeklong classes for those who want to learn the art. A research and development team is developing clubs and testing vendor-sourced products. Enlarged pictures capturing golf imagery hang over the

Take a Look Outside
May 1, 2004

You need to do some concentrated market research, but your current staff is swamped with other work. Do you: A) wait for your marketing staff’s workload to get lighter? B) decide that the research was not all that crucial in the first place? C) hire an outside expert to conduct the all-important study? “There’s a general tendency in the catalog industry to use in-house staff only and to avoid hiring outside expertise,” says George Ittner, president of Executive Greetings catalog, a former industry consultant and long-time catalog veteran. “But I think you can gain immense benefits from hiring that expertise. Catalogers shouldn’t

The Top 200 Catalog – Selected Profiles
March 1, 2004

Catalog Success and Marketing INFORMATION Network® present the Top 200 Catalogs: The Greatest Housefile-Growth Rates Among Catalogers The charts reflect our second-annual ranking of the top 200 North America-based catalogs as measured by recent housefile-growth rates. You’ll notice that catalogers selling apparel/shoes, home furnishings and food fared particularly well. But other consumer categories also had strong showings, most notably athletic and sporting goods and apparel (14 catalogs in the Top 200), children’s products (14) and gardening-related items (13). Moreover, 16 business-to-business catalogs made the list. Comparing and ranking catalogs based only on raw numbers is never a fool-proof methodology. For example,

Crossing Pointe: Blair’s Investment Takes Off
February 1, 2004

Not many start-up catalogs can boast annual sales de-mand of more than $50 million, a one-year housefile-growth rate of a whopping 126 percent, and more than 300,000 12-month buyers. But that’s just what Crossing Pointe, the newest division of Blair Corp., has so far achieved during its first three and a half years in operation. Crossing Pointe’s mission has been to bring younger, more affluent customers to its 94-year-old parent company, Warren, PA-based Blair Corp. Officials at Blair, a veritable stalwart in the direct mail industry and the eighth largest consumer apparel cataloger in the United States, wanted to broaden their customer base, and