Give Thanks For Being a Cataloger
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. My family and I certainly did.
And as this is the time of year when we reflect on what we’re truly thankful for, let me share this with you. I’m thankful for my career in direct and catalog marketing.
Think about it: In what other industry are almost all of the actions we take directly measurable, where our worth as businesspeople can be so easily quantified? I take comfort in that. Don’t you?
As direct marketers, we don’t have to create billboards, institutional ads, or even beer commercials, and pray that they eventually drive in revenue through brand recognition. Direct marketing is immediate, in your face and urgent. For this I am thankful. I love counting up the orders and leads that come in as a campaign is running. Every response I get is a little gift, and a validation that I did my job correctly.
And if the response doesn’t come in, we can learn from that too.
I had a professor at NYU who used to say that to be a great direct marketer, you only have to be right 51 percent of the time. While this is an exaggeration, the basic concept is correct. In what other industry is so much emphasis placed on improving work that we just completed? Better yet: In what other line of work, do our failures get applauded as an opportunity to do better?
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a time and place for branding and the like. It’s just that direct marketers are adept at building brands, and getting the order at the same time. Direct marketing and brand building aren’t diametrically opposed as they once were.
The great news is that direct marketing no longer is the red-headed stepchild of the marketing industry. When the dot-com boom went bust, those left standing were the direct marketers. Catalogers created killer e-commerce sites that built brands and made sales. Smart retailers became adept at multichannel marketing by following the basic tenets of direct marketing. And the few pure play Internet companies that survived did so by learning how direct marketing works.