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 […]

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. […]

Is sending something less relevant, better than sending nothing?

There in lies the conundrum for marketers, especially email marketers. If you send nothing, you get nothing back. If you send something that isn’t relevant, you get some sales but you also get unsubscribes, which are worse than nothing. Is sending something less relevant, usually discounts, better than sending nothing? That depends. I have heard […]

Yo Creatives, Your Job is Safe from Robots

If you are in the creative department, your job is safe for a good long while. Research scientist, and AI provocateur, Janelle Shane used artificial intelligence to try and name paint colors. She fed the AI 7700 Sherwin Williams color samples. Below are her results.   Enjoy your holiday weekend, secure in the knowledge that your future […]

Adobe is training me to be a jerk, #Adobe sucks

  A few weeks back I needed to work over the weekend to catch up from a bout with the flu. No one wants to give up a weekend to work, but sometimes there just isn’t another option. And then my computer went wonky, and then InDesign crashed, and then nothing worked. I was able […]