June 22, 2016

Go Recruit Some Help

When I analyze Catalog Holding Company data, I can clearly see how various brands align with each other. Brand A performs well when Brand Q performs well ... and Brand Q performs well when Brand Z performs well. There are a ton of linkages, and the best Catalog Holding Companies feed their ecosystem so that the customer moves from Brand Z to Brand Q to Brand A.

The same logic holds with your co-op partners, just on a much larger scale.

Here's what needs to happen.
  1. You need to have a heart-to-heart with your co-op partners.
  2. Ask your co-op partners to share the linkages that allow your business to thrive. If In The Company of Dogs thrives when Williams Sonoma thrives, you need to know this. You are paying the co-ops a lot of cheddar. They should tell you and all of your fellow Catalog Brand Ecosystem partners what the linkages are.
  3. Now that you know the seven brands that align with your brand, it is time to sit down with the leaders of each of the seven brands, and figure out how all seven of you can work together to benefit each other.
Remember, catalogers are no longer competing with each other. At all. 

Catalogers are a loose federation of brands within a Catalog Brand Ecosystem. When some brands within the ecosystem succeed, all other brands succeed because of the success of others. I don't care that you perceive that you sell the same merchandise as another catalog brand - who cares? You are sharing names, so that means you are already sharing trade secrets - what could be a bigger trade secret than your customer list?

The co-ops can facilitate the partnerships, the linkages. The co-ops can perform the analysis, and then go to each brand and share the linkages. The co-ops can bring leadership from each brand together for conversations. The co-ops have the data, and they have the relationships to make this happen. The only thing stopping this from happening is adherence to 1980s thinking ... from you ... and from the co-ops.

Go recruit some help from your co-op partners.

If you run into a brick wall, contact me (kevinh@minethatdata.com). We'll try to figure something out.

Remember - you are not competing with each other anymore. You won! You own the 55+ year old customer. The Online Brand Ecosystem doesn't want your customer. The Mobile Brand Ecosystem doesn't want your customer. You won the competitive battle. Now please work together to help each other succeed.