Brick-and-mortar retail is suffering a lot more than direct. Your retail brethren don't enjoy the same flexibility that you have to shift marketing strategies, products, services, offers, selling tactics, among other things. Specifically, I'd like you to think about how and where you compete with retailers, and what tactics to employ now.
I'm constantly astounded by the number of people in our industry who have a cost-only orientation. They believe their sole job is to reduce costs as opposed to increase sales. You know those meetings — the ones that focus only on how you can reduce costs with little or no consideration to value received.
Having attended more than 15 catalog/multichannel conferences (ACCM) over the past two decades, I can easily report that this one will stand out for its low attendance and "doom-and-gloom" conversations. Yes, these aren't good economic times, but being the forever optimist, I wanted to point out several things that we should all be thinking about.
The more I study online marketing, the more I'm struck by the parallels to direct mail. Take this example: The other day in a client meeting we were discussing the different clickthrough rates (response rates) to various online marketing activities (lists).
In B-to-B marketing, there are essentially five promotional channels: inbound sales, outbound sales, outside sales, Web and catalog/mail. Given today’s marketplace, I thought it might be useful to talk about some of the bigger changes I see happening in each channel.
I met with an owner of a large multichannel B-to-B direct marketing company this week, and we discussed a common topic these days: How does one survive a 20 percent drop in sales? It's becoming clear to me and many others in the industry that the squeezes many companies are facing today are unprecedented and require significant changes, not just “tinkering.”