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. […]

So what should you cut from your budget?

We got a great question this week about photography, but it’s bigger than just photography. This time of year, the nice folks in the big offices, make budgets for the coming year and look for things to cut. It’s a great practice, and keeping things lean keeps things profitable. But creative is a bit of […]

Matte Paper

  Hallelujah! A creative director called me and said that the matte paper they’ve been using isn’t showing off the product…darker items look like ink blobs. I smiled from ear to ear. While still smiling, I replied that the catalogs from the prior year were printed on a coated (glossy) stock. The team could quickly […]

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 […]

What matters most in catalog design?

If there is one thing that will move the needle in catalog design, one thing that makes more impact than anything else, the thing that really makes the cash register ring, it’s product knowledge. There is no better thing to spend your time on than really, truly understanding what you are selling and why it […]