It’s that changeup time of year

I’m not really much of a baseball gal (Go Sox!) but the changeup I’m talking about is the cover changeup. Every year all good catalogers will take the results from the previous year and see which covers did the best. There is always the winner that works every time. A hero shot of the best […]

Pull up! Pull up! Behold the slide to irrelevance

A friend and colleague, Kristen Stetson, asked me recently if I knew someone at The Company Store. I don’t, but when you are done reading this please pass it on if you do. The disconnect Kristen saw a headboard that she liked in The Company Store catalog. She was looking for a headboard so this […]

The benefit of Travel Pajamas

The 3 rules of advertising are benefit, benefit, benefit When you want to increase sales of a product, the most important thing to do is determine the benefit. What is the product going to do for the customer? Most product copy focuses on the attributes, product specifications, what it does, what it’s made of, where it […]

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 […]

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 […]

Part 1: August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day

August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day! What? Yes, it’s a day dedicated to catalogers everywhere. Seriously. Not kidding. As a catalog consultant, I often tell clients that cataloging is in my blood. Part of my DNA. I recall my first real job after I graduated from college: Macauley’s Office Supply in Detroit, Michigan. […]