Avocado dog food

Everytime you add new product you have to position it. Positioning is the story you tell the customer about why they want it and what it will do for them. The first and most important question is “What is it good for?” That isn’t a simple question—consider the avocado. In the 70’s, when avocado growers were […]

Using catalog space for good and not evil

When someone says “Can we promote this in the catalog?” how do you answer? Catalogs can move the needle on a lot of fronts: customer acquisition, inventory issues, brand enhancement, and customer education. To do things effectively there needs to be a pretty relentless focus on the catalog’s strategy and costs. If you need to promote […]

Finding Meaningful Sales Attribution

Pre-internet, everyone talked about being top of mind. Ads made you top of mind with the customer, and no one knew how to attribute it to ad spend. “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” John Wanamaker (1838-1922) Attribution is a mysterious thing. You have […]

Engineering flexibility into your catalog pagination

Last year I took a fresh look at swapping out covers for versioning and realized that changing how the catalog signatures (pages that get printed together) were bound together allowed clients to have greater flexibility at very little cost. Here’s how it works. The traditional pagination for a 36-page catalog has a 4-page cover and […]

Does Flow Matter for Catalog Pagination?

Over the last few years, we have been working with several internet pure play companies who are just getting into cataloging. One of the things I’ve noticed is they are very focused on the flow of the catalog. I think that coming from the internet they really value a narrative, because it’s really hard to […]

We are not hungry goldfish

I keep hearing marketers using “Testing proves that consumers have a shorter attention span than a goldfish” as an excuse not to do anything interesting. It’s a false argument. People had enough attention span to build a super collider, put probes on Mars, end polio, teach children to read, design fashion empires and so on […]

Ignorance gone to seed

My friend Lois shared a bit of Ozark wisdom with me a while back. Whenever the Trader Joe’s weekly mailer comes in it springs to mind. If you haven’t seen the Trader Joe’s weekly flyer, it looks like a throwback to 1865, one color, printed on newsprint, no images, everything the same size. But in […]

Catalogs are a great equalizer

I have often read about how early catalogs helped get goods to rural people, but I never thought about how cataloging was a great equalizer during the Jim Crow era in the south. If you were unwelcome or treated poorly within your community, shopping from a catalog gave you anonymity and access to goods you […]

Part 3: August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day

August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day! In case you’ve missed these past two days (go back and read the blogs!) August 18th was National Mail Order Catalog Day celebrating Aaron Montgomery Ward who started his catalog business in 1872. I’ve been writing about the history of cataloging and I want to conclude this […]

Part 2: August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day!

August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day! Catalogs have been around quite a while. National Mail Order Catalog Day celebrates Aaron Montgomery Ward who started his catalog business in 1872. While doing some research, there are others who could wear the distinction of oldest catalog. Immediately, Ben Franklin. Yes, that Ben Franklin. Inventor. Public […]