July 2008 Issue


A Chat With July’s Profile, Doug Mockett, founder/owner of Doug Mockett & Co.

Catalog Success: Where’s the company headquartered? Doug Mockett: It’s physically located in Torrance, California. CS: When was the company established? DM: In early 1981. CS: When were the first catalogs mailed? DM: We got into the mailing of the catalog, it had to be about two years later. It wasn’t so much a catalog as it was a single-sheet flyer; mainly because I only had one product at the time and had no money. CS: What was the one product that you were selling at the time? DM: Grommets, wire access grommets. We just had basically two different sizes and two

Advantage: Shippers

When multichannel marketers negotiate with parcel shipping companies, who has the advantage: carriers or shippers? Current market dynamics make today the best time to bid your business. Recent earnings disclosures by FedEx and the United Parcel Service indicate a slowing or decline in their domestic parcel businesses, making them hungry for new business and willing to fight to keep existing accounts. Slow domestic growth rates in the transportation industry means promoting competition among parcel carriers is a winning strategy in managing your shipments for lower unit costs. Carriers’ Upper Hand However, initiating a competitive bid process in today’s parcel environment is a complex

Audio: A Chat With July’s Profile, Doug Mockett, Founder/Owner, Doug Mockett & Co.

Click here to listen to our full interview with June’s Profile, Doug Mockett of Doug Mockett & Co.

Creative Cut

Note: Consistent with the issue’s focus on e-commerce/technology, this month’s Creative Cut focuses on a Web site. Many niche marketers thrive on the Web. If you have a very specialized product or target market, you can build a successful online business that grows by word-of-mouth, search engine marketing, and, at times, small catalogs or print materials. This requires a well-honed site that speaks directly to your market with a clear message that you’re an expert at what you do. The following is a look at ways FlagClothes.com could enhance its Web site to become the true leader in flag-based, patriotic products. Homepage At

E-Commerce Insights: Get to ‘Yes’

Do your site’s sign-up forms read like a bungled attempt at getting a date? You: Hi, would you like to get coffee? Visitor: Umm … sure. OK. You: Great! LET’S GET MARRIED! I love kids! I want a big wedding, then a week in Hawaii. Two girls and a boy, (after I make partner). Now Wednesday is poker night; can we spend every other Christmas with my mom? I like to garden, cook and … Visitor: You’re scaring me. Please go away now. Of course, you’re not that clueless about relationships. But your site may be. The No. 1 mistake marketers make

E-Mail Applied: Creating Customer Communities

Catalog marketers are a pragmatic group. They stick with tried-and-true methods. New techniques must demonstrate practicality before implementation. Customer reviews and blogs are Web 2.0 techniques, and they’ve demonstrated the ability to build community and stimulate sales. Web 2.0 is focused on interactivity, collaboration and social networking. Marketing becomes more dynamic as customers and prospects are empowered with tools that encourage engagement. Here’s how to harness that crowd-sourced power to provide consumer-generated content that will be influential in the purchasing process. Customer Reviews Some catalogers experiment with letting customers post product reviews on their sites. Typically they’ll use a form with a

Editor’s Take

A quick note: Our June issue was already at the printer while the 25th Annual Conference for Catalog and Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) was taking place on May 19-22 in Kissimmee, Fla. So belatedly, here’s my postconference recap. This was my 22nd consecutive tour of duty at what was once known as the National Catalog Conference, and the Annual Catalog Conference after that. But rest assured, I’m not going to give you one of these old-fogey reflections on how “it ain’t like it used to be.” Instead, let’s track back just a few years to Boston, June 2001. That was probably the most apprehensive

Industry Eye

LETTERS: Dear Editor, RE: The creative feature “10 Steps to a Successful Redesign,” (May 2008 issue, pg. 42). I am alarmed that Sarah Fletcher wrote such a distressing column for Catalog Success magazine. Maybe your article should have the caveat that it comes as your opinion or viewpoint, but it certainly does not represent good design principles. There is logic to some of what you say, but in your examples, you take spreads with individual personality and brand integrity and turn them into oatmeal. I looked at the headline that you suggest for your swimwear spread and have to laugh. Do you truthfully

Profile of Success: A Leg Up on the Field

WHAT GOT HIM HERE: Encouragement from his wife, Sonia. Having begun his professional career in the advertising industry, Doug Mockett quickly became disenchanted with how advertisers were viewed. “When things didn’t go well,” he says, “you were a goat. And when things went well, the client was a hero. You’re kind of stuck in this neverland of never being able to take credit for anything.” Sonia, an architectural space planner, pushed Doug to try his hand at a secret passion of his: direct marketing. He began marketing grommets for office furniture, a product she believed all furniture manufacturers needed. Mockett wrote a direct marketing

Quarterly Catalog Success (Now All About ROI) Latest Trends Report on Multichannel Creative Issues (July 2008)

This edition, we explore creative issues in our fourth quarterly Catalog Success Latest Trends Report. Conducted with the assistance of multichannel ad agency Ovation Marketing, this survey focuses on such important, creative-focused issues as budgets, channel allocation, photography and redesigns. The report contains a statistical analysis of a questionnaire we sent to the Catalog Success e-mail list in late May and early June. The numbers are cumulative responses from 90 B-to-C and 102 B-to-B catalog/multichannel executives. We break out separate B-to-C and B-to-B charts on our Web site, as we don’t have the space for all of them in the print issue. Some

Special Report: E-Commerce & Catalog Technology

As many catalogers have learned the hard way, it takes more than just dropping a high-quality, “pretty” book in the mail to survive these days. Consumers’ lives are frenetic — they choose how and when they want to interact with you. And in ever-increasing numbers, that interaction is taking place on the Web. It’s incumbent on you to listen to their demands and act upon them. This special report on e-commerce and catalog/multichannel technology follows suit with everything we provide our readers here at Catalog Success: actionable, money-making tips with immediate benefits. As consumers’ modes of commerce continue to evolve, one

Special Report: E-Commerce & Catalog Technology: A Gift for All Seasons

It may be hot outside, but savvy merchants are already contemplating sleighs and snowflakes. With the holiday season comprising fully a third of all online sales, according to Forrester Research, now’s the time to begin building the strategies that will propel year-end success. But we’re not only talking holiday season here. Half of all online buying is for other people at any time of the year, according to Forrester. So multichannel merchants should adapt successful holiday gifting tactics for year-round use during seasonal peaks and special events. To be successful, your gifting strategy must be carefully planned and woven into the fabric of

Special Report: E-Commerce & Catalog Technology: Is Affiliate Marketing Worth the Effort?

Let’s be frank. It’s been a while since anything interesting has turned up in the realm of online affiliate marketing. Yet that could change. And soon. We need to know how and when to exploit the next performance-based marketing opportunity. Rest assured, there are exciting new opportunities for catalogers big and small in affiliate marketing — but serious challenges also lie ahead. From managing the intersection of search and affiliate programs to diversifying the mix of distribution points, the key question multichannel merchants should ask is: How can affiliates be encouraged to send us more incremental sales or new customers? Affiliates: Friends

Special Report: E-Commerce & Catalog Technology: Take a Page From Facebook

Eyeing the ongoing, phenomenal success of trailblazing social networking sites MySpace and Facebook, catalogers are creating their own online communities where they glean valuable feedback from customer posts. “It’s a good time to become a niche online community and do it right,” says Don Philabaum, CEO of Internet Strategies Group, an online consulting firm. “You have millions of people who’ve learned the value of being a part of an online community, and they’ll bring experience, enthusiasm, content — and their network — to your online community.” Blogs, discussion boards and other forms of interactive media are the most cost-effective customer feedback mechanisms around, according

State of the Co-ops ’08

With mailing costs rising and the economy slumping, will catalog co-op databases remain relevant in tomorrow’s multichannel direct-marketing environment? The pool of hot names is certainly drying up as the number of catalog mailers is thinning. Witness the passing — or likely scaled-down futures — of the Lillian Vernon, BlueSky Brands, Bloomingdale’s by Mail and The Sharper Image catalogs. Likewise, the number of co-op databases fell to seven over the past year, with American List Counsel pulling the plug on its PerformanceLink database after two years. This year’s report, with each co-op listed in alphabetical order, recaps what each of them has

Strategy: It’s All About Co-Mailing

Co-mailing has become an extremely important way to reduce postage costs. This is the process of combining catalogs with other catalogs to create a bigger mail pool that yields greater discounts for the companies that participate. It’s a complicated topic to comprehend. So first I’ll discuss what co-mailing is and how to do it, then get into its advantages and disadvantages, and lastly what you can expect in terms of net savings. Ways to Co-Mail There are two ways to commingle publications for co-mailing. In-line co-mailing occurs when multiple catalog titles are combined into one mailstream during the stitching and ink-jetting stage on the

Understanding Postal

Next March, the USPS will implement new delivery address placement and format requirements for flats, the size of mail that most catalogs are classified under. The requirements will apply to ALL catalogs and not just those destined for postal facilities that will have the new Flats Sequencing System machines that the USPS will begin deploying this fall. And this is regardless of how flats are presorted, whether they’re barcoded or where they entered the mailstream. The best way to look at these issues is literally to have your own catalogs in front of you so you can see what changes may need to