Why I Have a Love-hate Relationship With the Annual Catalog Conference
By the time you read this, another catalog conference (the ACCM) will just about to be coming to a close. This year up in Boston. I didn’t get to go this year due to my son’s high school graduation, which disappoints me.
I’m not disappointed for the reasons you may think, however.
The thing I love most about going to the annual catalog conference and other direct marketing events is the camaraderie I feel with industry peers. To me it’s a chance to reconnect with people I normally don’t get to see throughout the year.
Oddly enough, the people I’ll miss not seeing the most are the vendors I’ve worked with over the years. These are the people who have allowed me to do my job to the best of my abilities. I truly believe that the job of a direct marketer is just as much externally focused (if not more) as it is internally.
While as a consultant and/or employee I’m internally responsible for my objectives and my team — it’s the vendors I choose that can make or break how the results turn out. These folks have saved my bacon more times that I care to recall. They’ve made me look good, turned me into a hero by keeping my costs in line, meeting some ridiculously short timelines at times, found solutions for me that I thought didn’t exist, and even played catalog psychotherapist for me a few times.
And they get very little credit for this.
Which is why I believe in the term “vendor-partners,” and today I salute them in this post.
I also believe that the opportunity to hang out with them at the conference or at one their receptions outside the context of our everyday working relationship is a privilege for me.
So to all the people in the printing, design, pre-media, service bureau, catalog co-ops, list brokerages, etc, I would like to use this forum to thank you for your service and your friendship (you know who you are).
As you’re standing on your feet all day at the conference, talking up your company and your services, schmoozing clients in endless meetings, know that when the parties are over and your bones are aching, you make us better at what we do.
On another note, the thing that I dislike about the big conferences in general is the fact that you’re just bombarded with information in a super short period if time. Some people can do “speed learning.” Personally I can’t. I like my information and my instructions meted out in slower smaller increments.
So, if you didn’t go to the conference this year (or even if you did), feel free to continue reading my blog, and certainly this Web site and Catalog Success magazine are great learning resources for you.
Reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speak to you next week.
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.