Amtower & Company

B-to-B Catalog Vet Don Buck Dies Suddenly
December 16, 2008

Don Buck, a B-to-B catalog executive at C&H Distributors, died on Dec. 12 from an apparent heart attack after finishing a game of racquetball. He was 56.

Mail to the Government
November 1, 2002

Selling to the U.S. government, which includes federal, state and local governments, can be a sweet deal for a cataloger. There are more than 70,000 government jurisdictions in the United States, and they buy $2.5 trillion for goods and services each year! The funds usually are spent through specific contracts, or they constitute discretionary purchases. The latter is spent on small purchases (called micropurchases) through purchasing, field and regional offices. It’s spent by government credit card users (Federal government and some state governments), and others who must acquire goods quickly. The use of SmartPay, the federal small-purchase credit card (formerly known as

Service Anyone?
May 1, 2002

While attending a recent business marketing conference, two things really struck me. First, direct mail not only lives, but thrives. Indeed, how do you drive Web traffic? Snail mail! Who wants a print catalog? Web browsers! Second, what do customers do when they want to order? They pick up the phone and call. My point isn’t that they use the phone, but rather what occurs—or at least, should occur—during the call. And it isn’t some idealized version of customer relationship management. Rather, they want simple, old fashioned customer service. Let me illustrate with an example from my own catalog-shopping experience. There’s a

Business-to-Government E-commerce Basics
April 1, 2001

Just four years ago, selling to the United States government was easy. That was the first time I saw a memo from a CFO establishing guidelines for online purchases using government issued credit cards. Those guidelines were short and sweet: (a) the Web site must offer secure purchasing; and (b) buyers should purchase from known vendors. That was it! During the past several years, things have gotten noticeably more complex. In that time, I have been monitoring vendor Web sites and government list servers and consulted with some notables in the industry. As a result, I have evolved a list of Web “basics”