So You Wanna Break into the Catalog Business ...
2. If your business is going to include a catalog, include mailing plans and schedules in your business plan. Build your plans from the bottom up; start with your estimated average order, estimated response rates and all of the lists you’ll want to target. Then build your mailing plans up from there. Bone up on your Excel skills or find someone proficient in building spreadsheets.
3. Want to find a wealth of industry information? Join your local mail order club or direct marketing trade association. You’ll meet plenty of vendors and other marketers who can help.
4. Start reading the business publications and their associated Web sites. Of course, you’re already reading the best one, CatalogSuccess.com, which is a good start. Subscribe to the magazine, too, if you don’t already receive it.
5. Make contact with the vendors whose ads you find. Pick their brains as much as you can. Many will be all too happy to help!
6. If you’re going to go “catalog” as part of your multichannel strategy, the basic vendors you’ll need are creative/graphic design, premedia (what was once known as prepress), printing (in most cases, they also do mailing services) and a good list broker. I’ve written many articles here in the past year about list vendor selection, so you may want to go back and read them.
7. Have cash! I can’t tell you how many great, fantastic, amazing business ideas have never gotten off the ground because they were undercapitalized. If you do have money, make sure your plan, budget and cash flow statements match up with your cash.
8. Have more cash! Don’t go reed thin on your marketing budget. NEVER make the mistake that just because you have great products, buyers will find you. You’ll have to push and push to find them.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.