Valentine

Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.

About 40 percent of the men and women in relationships expect to get engaged on Valentine's Day this year, according to a new study. Sears, hoping to profit from the findings, has expanded its assortment of jewelry by 60 percent this year to feature a wider selection of watches, pendants and engagement rings.

The Easter Bunny may look fluffy and cute, but retailers know there's a lot of consumer-toned muscle beneath that fuzzy exterior. Easter may not have the profile of other more secularly oriented holidays, but the bunny is a retail beast. Easter brought in more than $14 billion last year, accounting for 6.1 percent of all holiday spending.

If you bought a Groupon deal for $20 for $40 worth of flowers from FTD and suspected you were being overcharged, you thought right. Seems a glitch in the system charged Groupon users full price on sale items, but both Groupon and FTD seem eager to resolve the issue, although there were probably some burned and spurned flowerless customers this Valentine's Day

Social commerce startup Thoughtful.co announced the beta launch of its social gifting service in time for Valentine's Day shopping. Thoughtful, available as a web service and iPhone application, provides consumers with unique gifts and experiences from local merchants, enabling them to give the right gift to the right person every time. 

Friends and readers: I hope you all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving. I also hope you had a great Black Friday and a killer Cyber Monday.
I seem to remember not too long ago when Black Friday was just a retail industry term for the one day of the year that could change a company’s P&L from red to black. Somehow the term has crept into our national lexicon and collective psyche. As I went through my e-mails on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 22, I had at least a half-dozen sale-oriented e-mails pitching Black Friday sales. Most referenced Black Friday right in

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