August 18, 2010

Gliebers Dresses: They Keep Coming

From: Meredith Thompson []

Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 10:55 AM

To: Kevin Hillstrom

Subject: How Are You?

Dear Kevin:

Remember me? It's Meredith. Meredith Thompson! How the heck are you doing? I heard that you are working with some footwear company on some random island on the West Coast, what is that like?

I don't know if you heard the news or not. Brandon Templeton was fired as CEO of Gliebers Dresses a few weeks ago. He had this "all-in" strategy, I guess he liked playing Texas Hold 'Em or something, and decided that we had to go "all-in" and completely abandon our catalog marketing strategy. We went "all-in". And now I am "all-in" when it comes to a liquidation strategy because we missed our sales plan by 50% in July.

Was the kid a knucklehead? Absolutely. Was the kid trying to push us into the future? Probably. We fought this kid every step of the way, doing everything possible to make sure that the kid didn't kill our beloved catalog.

You have to understand, Kevin, that we love catalog marketing. I can't think about merchandising a landing page, that's boring, who wants to do that? Now, when it comes to putting together sixteen pages that tell the story about why a sundress is vital to the summertime lifestyle of a 58 year old woman, well, that is something I know about, I have a passion for this style of marketing and merchandising.

This new generation of "digi-dudes" as I call them, well, I'm not certain what they have a passion for. They batter old-school marketers like me, but they seem completely inept when it comes to creating demand. Sure, anybody can do an A/B test on a landing page to determine which style of creative generates orders more efficiently, but can these digi-dudes create the demand that sends a customer to a landing page? I doubt it. I sincerely doubt it. A generation of marketers are losing the battle on demand generation. Our kid-wonder former CEO learned this lesson the hard way. You can have apps for the Android platform, for the iPad, for the iPod, for the iPhone, for Blackberry, for Raspberry for crying out loud. How the heck do you tell customers to go and download the app? I mean, honestly, should we expect a couple hundred thousand twenty-nine year olds to virally share the fact that we have a series of apps with their closest friends?

Brandon didn't have an answer for that.

I'll use the catalog to create demand. Until somebody comes up with a better idea, I'll use the catalog to create demand. There is no such thing as multi-channel marketing without the demand generation provided by catalog marketing. E-mail sure doesn't count, though to be fair, it is better at generating demand than an app for an Android phone. Banner ads? Please. Re-targeting? Who wants to be stalked online? The catalog, now that thing creates demand!

I'll wrap this up, now. I sure wish somebody would bring you in here to spend some time with us. Roger is making a pitch to be interim CEO. The last thing we need is a daily essay on insights from Woodside Research. We need somebody who is practical enough to know that the past is still relevant, while pushing us to test new strategies. Almost everybody we know is good at one or the other, we need somebody good at both old and new. Who might you recommend to be our CEO? Is there anybody out there who might be willing to lead us? Let me know your thoughts.



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I See Dead People

From LinkedIn, where I wrote this on Sunday: