Alicia Orr

When I was 14, my mother helped me redecorate my bedroom. That spring, we picked out a paint color, new curtains and new wall decor. When it came time to select a new bedspread, Mom—a savvy American consumer if there ever was one—gave me a Spiegel catalog and showed me how to navigate through it to find just the right color, size and material. When the bedspread arrived, it was like opening a Christmas present in the middle of May. And so began a lifetime of catalog shopping. Through the years, I’ve discovered some wonderful products through catalogs: durable and comfortable fitness

IN THE DAYS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING the TRAGEDY of Sept. 11, 2001, the horrific event and what it was going to mean for our nation was all anyone could think about. Television networks covered the news of the terrorist attacks 24 hours a day, pre-empting all normal programming. Family, friends and co-workers talked constantly of what had happened to try to make some sense of it all and share their collective sense of loss. By the first weekend after the attacks, I couldn’t take any more of the sad and scary news. So I decided to turn off the TV and get out

Funny isn’t it that only a short time ago some people were telling jokes about print media such as catalogs, direct mail, magazines and newspapers. Many said these forms of communication would be dead as dinosaurs in a few years, thanks to the advent of the Internet as a marketing channel. Some even abandoned their long-time work in the print media industries in search of more glamorous jobs out in the great World Wide Web. But look inside your mailbox today and, lo and behold, you may find a catalog or brochure from one of the leading online marketers. Those who laughed at

By Alicia Orr Your list manager can be a critical source of market research information, according to Geoff Batrouney, executive vice president of Estee Marketing Group. How? "When the list is for rent and you see certain instances over and over of the same people renting your list, perhaps that's a clue to your next line extension or spin-off," Batrouney suggested to attendees at the CatalogTech Conference held March 12-14 in New York City. "Don't fight the numbers!" he says. Included in Batrouney's advice for those seeking spin-off or start-up opportunities: 1.

By Alicia Orr With all of the excitement of the Internet in the past few years, some catalogers have forgotten the most basic rule of direct marketing; that it must first focus on providing customer satisfaction. One company that has not forgotten this is The Mark Group, the Boca Raton, FL-based company that publishes the Boston Proper, Charles Keath and Mark, Fore & Strike catalogs. As company CEO Michael Tiernan projected a year and a half ago: "As e-commerce evolves... ultimately success is not dependent on Web traffic, click-through rates or market capitalization, but on earning customer trust on every single transaction." Today, a

When Mammoth Sports Group purchased the Austad’s golf catalog from Hanover Direct this past October, it became “a new company under new ownership with a new mission,” says Kent Arett, president of Mammoth Sports Group located in Jessup, MD. “We knew there was a lot of potential there that was not being tapped. This was an underperforming business. That was the whole reason we bought it [Austad’s],” Arett explains. Under terms of the agreement, Mammoth Sports Group, which also owns several Mammoth Golf superstores and an e-commerce site, purchased Austad’s complete inventory, customer base and historical artwork with plans to quickly ramp up the

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