Which is First? The Chicken (Product) or the Egg (Marketing)?
So to answer Robespierre’s question about what products work best in a catalog, look for products to market that you are passionate about. Sure there are product categories like apparel that lend themselves to catalog marketing. But some very successful catalogs mine a small yet powerful niche market. Find something that isn’t readily available elsewhere and has some uniqueness to it. Then make sure you can purchase it and sell it with the right margin that can sustain a catalog business. Look for enough products that have an affinity to each other so you can have depth and breadth of product lines in your catalog.
Or maybe if you don’t have many products, find something unique, and then market it direct, build up a database of customers and then expand your product line as you grow -- the classic kitchen table mail order entrepreneur approach.
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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.