June 23, 2016

Work Together

I spent this week outlining a thesis that catalogers no longer compete with each other.

Instead, catalogers are part of a loose federation within a Catalog Brand Ecosystem. When Brand X performs well, then Brand D performs well, and when Brand D performs well, then Brand M performs well. So if we want Brand M to perform well, it doesn't hurt to have Brand X and Brand D perform well, does it?

You depend on the companies you believe you compete with. But how can you compete with these brands when you openly share your most valuable asset ... your customer list ... with each other?

The truth is that you are not competing. You are collaborating within a large Catalog Brand Ecosystem.

When co-op performance fails, it is not the fault of your co-op partners. At all. It is your fault. It is because you are not collaborating with the leaders at the companies you share your most valuable asset with .. your customer list.

So you can fix this problem in two ways.
  1. Instead of competing, please work together. Partner with your co-ops to facilitate the discussions. And if your co-ops won't help you, then send me a message (kevinh@minethatdata.com) and let's figure this challenge out together.
  2. Improve merchandise productivity. The Online Brand Ecosystem does not want your customer. The Mobile Brand Ecosystem does not want your customer. Therefore, when you improve merchandise productivity by focusing on a 55+ year old customer, you actually help all other catalogers in the Catalog Brand Ecosystem. And once momentum takes over, every cataloger benefits.
You can fix this problem by working directly with the leaders you perceive you are competing with. Find ways to collaborate.

In other words, I'm asking you to stand up and be a leader. Put this industry on your back and move it forward. No more complaining about co-ops. No more complaining about Amazon. No more complaining about online brands. No more complaining about elections. No more complaining about weather. No more complaining about economic headwinds. Too many companies are succeeding. It's time to collaborate with other catalogers, work together, improve merchandise productivity, find ways to grow new customers, and essentially grow the industry.

What is so bad about that message? Who among you and/or vendors could be offended by the hope that you become a leader and grow merchandise productivity and collaborate with other catalogers?