How to Choose the Right Design Team for Your Catalog or Direct Mail Program
May 10, 2010

Choose designers who specifically know the mail order market. Catalogs/mailers accustomed to generating sales via mail/internet ordering are a very different animal from a branding vehicle. They may look similar, but companies that create mail order catalogs and direct mail know exactly how to leverage creative that not only builds their brands, but also sells product. What looks simple is actually highly specialized and technical.

How to Survive a Recession
December 16, 2008

Someone asked me last week, "What are the best ways to survive a recession?" Without thinking much, I responded, “Love the customers you got!" As I began to reflect on my knee-jerk answer, I realized just how important it is for B-to-B catalogers to do just that.

6 Tips to Increase Your Productivity in 2009
December 9, 2008

As many catalog/multichannel B-to-B and B-to-C marketers do their annual planning and budgeting for 2009 right about now, I suspect many are having a difficult time given the events of the past six months. Who really knows what 2009 will bring?

Now Is the Time to Review Outsourcing Opportunities
December 2, 2008

Given the tough economic times and sales levels that are most likely below plan, most B-to-B catalog managers are looking to reduce overhead costs without affecting revenue-driving activities. Much of the “low-hanging fruit” has been had when it comes to cost savings, and I submit that now is the time that many of you must face “significant structural change” as an option. Inevitably, your discussions will lead you to consider outsourcing noncore functions in your company.
The first question you might be asking is, “What’s a noncore function?” The answer varies for every company, but generally, I consider noncore functions to be anything that

What’s the Failed Search Rate on Your Web Site?
November 11, 2008

I had an interesting debate with a client the other day about internal site search failure rates for B-to-B catalogers. He asked me what I thought the acceptable rate of internal site search was. He suggested that 15 percent, 20 percent or even 25 percent was “normal.”
B-to-B marketers know the ease with which customers can find the product(s) they want when shopping on your site is key. Unlike their B-to-C counterparts, B-to-B marketers often have more than 100,000 items listed on their sites. Large B-to-B catalogers can have more than 500,000, and I know of at least one who has more than 1

Are You Spending Enough on Your Photography?
November 4, 2008

Food and fashion catalogs have long since recognized the importance of quality photography in their books. But B-to-B catalogers have skimped on this important catalog component too often. The old adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” still holds true. More importantly, bad photography — unclear, out of focus, too small, etc. — communicates a negative message. With today’s impatient buyers, you only have a few seconds to communicate your product benefits. The quality of your photography is essential to doing this effectively.
So when reviewing your catalog’s photography, ask yourself the following questions:
* Do the pictures properly display the attributes

Increase Productivity and Effectiveness Via New Technology
September 9, 2008

As an industry, we’ve had to weather difficult market conditions before. Whether you want to call it a recession or not, there’s no doubt that times are tough. B-to-B customers are “cautious.” Not dead, but cautious. During such times, B-to-B marketers need to recognize the mind-set of their customers and come up with relevant products, offers and pitches. They also need to keep a close eye on costs. Often, this leads to new, less expensive ways to operate.
Over the course of history, one trend I’ve seen time and time again is B-to-B marketers’ willingness to embrace new technology to increase marketing effectiveness and/or

Behind the B-to-B Online Video Explosion
September 2, 2008

In case you haven’t noticed, the use of amateur video to sell products online is exploding. YouTube has made amateur video perfectly acceptable, and B-to-B catalogers have realized the power of video to educate, inform, sell, demonstrate, serve and communicate.
All this is changing online business shoppers’ expectations. I dare predict that a year from now your Web site will be “old technology” if you don’t have videos that inform visitors of your products and/or services. It should also include videos from your customers showing how they use your products.
No, this won’t force you to build a big, expensive video production facility. Let