February 03, 2013

Dear Catalog CEOs: Your Annual Physical and Prescriptions

Dear Catalog CEOs:

I had my annual physical in December.  For just $400, you get to learn about all the unique ways you're destroying your own health.  For instance, did you know that it is bad for your health to eat an entire pan of Special-K bars in one sitting?

My doctor says my cholesterol is too high.  He'd like for me to exercise more, to lose weight, to eat more vegetables.  He wants me to stay away from Cheetos, 24oz prime rib dinners, and chocolate frosted brownies.  He said if I do those things, my cholesterol will go down, naturally.

Then he wrote the script for a drug similar to Crestor.

Problem solved!

What does this have to do with your business?  Everything.

When we belly-up to the Abacus bar and order 1,500,000 prospects at $0.06 each, Abacus is writing us a script for Crestor.  When our email subject lines offer 30% off plus free shipping, we're putting on weight, we're not running a lean, trim business.  And when we offer a loyalty program instead of doing the hard work to acquire new customers the old-fashioned way, we're not exercising our marketing muscles, are we?

At some point, we have to look in the mirror, and ask ourselves if this is the way we want to live?

I know, I know.  Who wants to follow doctor's orders?  Exercise?  That's like acquiring customers via word-of-mouth because our products are so highly desired that people cannot stop talking about them!  Diet?  That's like selling merchandise at full price - it's more fun to sell merchandise at 30% off plus free shipping (nachos).  High Blood Pressure?  That's like a high ad-to-sales ratio ... it eventually causes a stroke, heart attack, or business implosion.

We'd rather comb through the trade journals, searching for Crestor.  Maybe there is an omnichannel pill we can take, one that will fix everything, right?  Let's just hope that somebody can solve all of our woes in 400 words or less, with three easy steps, preferably somebody with no client-side business experience.

We've been trained to seek the pill, the easy way out.

We need to get back to doing hard work.

I'm walking most days now.  Haven't had a chocolate frosted brownie in months.  Can't say the same thing for the Cheetos, however.  But it's a start.

Isn't it time we gave our business an annual physical?  And after seeing the results, wouldn't it make sense to start doing the hard work to restore business health?

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