Don’t start a catalog!
Really… I mean it!
If you’re not already in the catalog business, don’t start one. In fact, you can stop reading here.
Don’t even waste your time…
O.K., you got me. I’m being ironic.
In fact, a few paragraphs down, I’ll tell you why now is the best time to start a catalog business. But, only as long as you’re willing to follow the few simple rules of the catalog business. Rules that run counterintuitive to your current business model.
To me, this is a fitting way to start my first weekly blog (silly word blog, but less silly than saying the word “spam” 50 times a day, right?). So without further ado, let’s discuss why you should not start a catalog company, much less add one to your existing business.
Actually, before we discuss starting a catalog, let’s discuss you.
I pretty much know you already. You are absolutely killer at what you do. You’re a product driven merchant, who is either a retailer or a pure play Internet company. You’ve given birth to, and put your blood, sweat and tears into your products and company. You’ve leveraged everything you have to make your dream a reality.
And, without a doubt, you know what your customers want, right? Of course right!
Now, you feel that by adding a printed catalog, you can generate new customers, service your present ones, and increase your profits exponentially.
Well, congrats, you are right. Partially anyway. You’re thinking, how difficult is it to create and mail a catalog. I can just create the thing, and well, if I build it, they will come.
But the ruthless truth -- and this is what I tell anyone who asks me “what does it take to start a catalog?” -- is that cataloging is probably the most difficult business model there is. It’s not a business model is for the faint of heart, and I can prove it to you. Consider the following:
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.