Several weeks ago, I spoke with an Executive about online and catalog marketing strategy. The conversation went something like this:
Executive: I'm not sure you can help me. Heck, you probably haven't even requested a copy of my catalog, have you?
Kevin: No, but I visited your website.
Executive: See, that's exactly what I'm talking about. How can you possibly offer me useful insights if you haven't had a chance to thumb through my catalog?
Catalogers are different than other marketers. You don't see e-mail marketers walking around with printed copies of their favorite e-mail campaigns.
For some catalogers, the passion is about "the catalog", not "the product". And there's nothing wrong with that. I wish the e-mail, search, and general online marketing community had the level of passion and intensity that many catalogers have.
Next time you meet with a catalog executive, see if s/he asks if you want to take home a copy of the most recent catalog. If the executive gives you a copy of the catalog, see if the executive also asks you to visit the website.
This passion can blind catalogers. Sometimes, there's profit laying all around a cataloger, just waiting to be picked-up, if one is willing to look beyond the catalog.