February 25, 2008

Update From The F. Curtis Barry & Company Executive Forum

We just completed day two of the three day F. Curtis Barry & Company Executive Forum here in Ft. Lauderdale (a place that, if I may be so bold, is somewhat more temperate than Seattle).

CEOs, Principals and Owners from across the industry have gathered to talk about pressing issues in the multichannel marketing industry. We also have Monica Smith, President/CEO of Marketsmith and merchandising expert Jon Reagan on hand to help facilitate each session.

There's a few things worth mentioning about the forum.

First, these executives are real people. They are not the demonized leaders we read about all the time. These folks agonize about postage increases that cripple a business, they feel terrible about having to make tough decisions to keep a brand afloat. They won't cash a check for a hundred million dollars when their time is up. They care about their employees.

Second, there need to be more forums like this, forums where executives can share ideas, concepts, sales/profit performance, and get help in a safe and collaborative environment. I should have attended a few years ago when I worked at Nordstrom.

Third, we're covering topics that are important to multichannel brands.
  • The devastating impact of the postage increases of 2007.
  • What does cataloging look like in 2013?
  • Benefits of joining the ACMA.
  • Prospecting challenges, lists, co-ops, prospect catalogs & page counts.
  • Marketing to online customers.
  • Matchback analytics and allocation of orders to marketing activities.
  • Smaller catalog formats.
  • E-mail marketing and prospecting.
  • Presentation of merchandise (creative).
  • Mix of new/existing merchandise and changes in productivity.
  • Niche merchandising vs. commodity merchandising strategy.
  • Free shipping.
  • Impact of search marketing for big vs. small brands.
  • Delivery partners (UPS, FedEx, DHL).
  • Benchmarking all aspects of the profit and loss statement.
  • Getting your staff the skills necessary to manage a future multichannel business model.
  • Website hosting strategies.
  • Partnering opportunities with Amazon.
  • Google Checkout and PayPal.
  • Projected inflationary pressures in China.
We openly share our thoughts with each other on these topics, helping each other out in a collaborative yet confidential manner.

Fourth, Curt and Jeff Barry host this event (and host a good blog) in an unselfish manner. Participants share ideas in a positive environment.

This has been a great experience. Hopefully this event will continue to thrive!