Three Years and 75,000 Words Later ...
Friends and readers: With this column I hit a milestone, the three-year anniversary of my weekly column for All About ROI (formerly Catalog Success). At roughly 500 words per column, I've written nearly 75,000 words on various aspects of direct marketing in the last three years. Wow!
I want to thank you, my readers, for your attention and interest over the last three years. I also want to thank you for the many emails you've sent me behind the scenes. Your comments, kudos and even criticisms have helped this column grow (and me grow as a writer and consultant). I thank you as well for your comments on my weekly articles.
That said, I'm rededicating myself to continuing to provide you the information, news and unique opinions on all that's happening in direct and retail marketing in the coming years.
But before moving forward, I wanted to take a look back at some of my more memorable columns of the past three years with some thoughts sprinkled here and there on how they relate to today's environment.
- My very first column was “Don’t Start a Catalog." I wrote that catalog marketing isn't for the faint of heart; it takes money, discipline and the willingness to lose money on acquiring customers only to be paid back in lifetime value sales, increased average orders and other factors. This still holds true today. This column presents the risks and rewards of operating a true multichannel company — with a catalog. I still believe today, even in these challenging times, that the rewards are there if you follow the rules of the business.
- In January 2008, upon hearing that general merchandise cataloger Lillian Vernon had given the ax to workers a few days before Christmas, I wrote “Happy Holidays — You’re Fired!!!." I usually don’t call out companies by name as a practice here, but this case was truly despicable to me. Evidently you thought so, too.
- Focusing on the do's and don'ts of lists, metrics and the proper use of mailing lists was the subject of this August 2007 column: "If I Only Had a List to Start My Catalog Business!"
- If you're a fan of my column, you know that I've written about customer experience a bunch. In a January 2008 column, I detailed my experience from a recent cruise in "Create Superior Customer Experiences." I take my cues from all industries (not just multichannel). This company knows how to throw a cruise party — and treat its customers right.
- Lastly in my trip down memory lane, in my April 2008 column, "Congrats, You Too Can Become a Gazillionaire!," I used past experience to pose the question: What's the next big thing going to be in direct marketing?
Along the way I've written about circulation planning, customer service, increasing sales and average order sizes, managing call centers properly, and I even yelled at the folks in the C-suite more than a few times. For a full listing of all my columns, check out the All About ROI archives.
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.