July 22, 2018

Catalog Craig Paperman on Adopting Ideas

I know, if you don't like this stuff, skip it and instead read about how Dick's Sporting Goods is taking media planning in-house (click here). Or learn about your favorite Shark Week content available without having cable (click here).


Kevin:  Craig, you look like you just ate a large piece of pickled ginger without anything to wash it down.

Craig:  I'm tired.

Kevin:  Tired?

Craig:  Yeah, I read through your Sixteen Business Principles (click here). What a vapid waste of Powerpoint resources.

Kevin:  Seriously?

Craig:  Oh, I'm serious. Look at my face.

Kevin:  What don't you like about it?

Craig:  There aren't any tactics in there that can help me grow my business.

Kevin:  Do you disagree with the thesis that you should have a Marketing Management System?

Craig:  You are discussing theory. I need tactics that work, right now.

Kevin:  Let's talk tactics then.

Craig:  Gimme one.

Kevin:  Duluth Trading Company. They spent close to a decade honing an advertising strategy that helped them quadruple sales in the past ten years ... and they're selling a dying product (Women's Apparel) in a dying channel (Catalogs). Think about that. Why not copy what they're doing.

Craig:  Their advertising is stupid.

Kevin:  Their advertising works.

Craig:  I'm not doing that. See, I don't think you have any useful ideas or strategies.

Kevin:  Couldn't you open up stores like Bass Pro Shops, giant cathedrals that turn retail into an entertainment enterprise?

Craig:  I'm not doing that, that's stupid. Fixed costs will kill ya. I'm still waiting for a useful idea.

Kevin:  You could start a subscription-based service and ship products that the customer didn't ask for on a monthly basis like Stitch Fix does. You could hire a bunch of data scientists who figure out what to send.

Craig:  I'm not doing that. Everybody knows that returns will kill ya. I'm still waiting for a useful idea.

Kevin:  You could open a store like Nordstrom and not sell any products at all.

Craig:  Like that's going to work. You have expenses and no sales. Moron. I'm still waiting for a useful idea.

Kevin:  You could have an annual event like Amazon Prime Day and market the living daylights out of it and turn it into the biggest shopping day of the year.

Craig:  Right. Amazon's site was down. The pundits are calling it "Fail Day" instead of "Prime Day". Again, I'm still waiting for a useful idea.

Kevin:  You could run a campaign like Domino's runs ... they're filling potholes as a way to generate awareness of their pizza.

Craig:  I have no idea what potholes have to do with pizza. Stupid. Next idea, please.

Kevin:  You could hire an influencer and run a series of campaigns on Instagram to create awareness.

Craig:  I don't have time to vet an influencer to see if they can promote my catalog on their Instagram feed. And I don't want to pay an influencer $20,000 to promote my catalog. Bad idea. Next!

Kevin:  I don't think you want to listen to anybody. I think you just like to grumble.

Craig:  Wrong!

Kevin:  Share with me an idea you heard that you implemented.

Craig:  My business is really challenging. We're unique. We're special. You can't just take any idea off the street and apply it to our business.

Kevin:  And how has business been in the past few years?

Craig:  That's beside the point.

Kevin:  How has business been in the past few years?

Craig:  If people had good ideas that were worth using and didn't just suggest that I should innovate or die I'd leverage the ideas.

Kevin:  What do you stand for?

Craig:  What do I stand for?

Kevin:  Yeah. What is your Marketing Management System?

Craig:  My system?

Kevin:  Without a system, every idea is guaranteed to fail. Or worse, you try every single idea hoping to hit the lottery. Maybe you don't have a system.

Craig:  Is there a way I can unsubscribe to this conversation? I'm busy keeping the wheels on the bus and I sure don't need to hear that I don't have a Marketing Management System. I try stuff. I innovate. We send emails personalized with "Dear Martha" in the subject line.

Kevin:  Ok, I'm wrong. You have a Marketing Management System.

Craig:  Good, thank you.

Kevin:  You are welcome.

Craig:  Wait. What? I haven't purchased a system from any of the beloved vendors I work with.

Kevin:  The reason you don't accept any ideas or tactics is because you are running a vendor-based marketing system.

Craig:  Hey ... you're DARN RIGHT that's the system I am running.

Kevin:  You look for ideas sold by vendors. Plug and play. Let somebody else do the work.

Craig:  I love it when I do nothing and our paid search vendor optimizes our ad spend and I don't have the slightest idea what they are actually doing with my money.

Kevin:  So when somebody asks you to be creative, you reject the idea, because you are running a Marketing Management System that leverages plug-and-play vendor solutions.

Craig:  I do love Google Analytics.

Kevin:  Ever notice that GA is designed to reward those who run a vendor-based marketing system? Search, social, mobile, referring URLs, demographics, retargeting, attribution modeling, and now you can merge your data with their data. The whole thing is designed for you to just sit in your chair and outsource your whole life to vendors.

Craig:  And don't forget paper.

Kevin:  Oh no, we don't want to forget that. Twenty-five percent of your annual net sales pays for paper, postage, and printing.

Craig:  Look what I get for the investment!

Kevin:  So how could you possibly accept any ideas to grow your business outside of a vendor-based marketing system?

Craig:  I couldn't!

Kevin:  You've outsourced everything you do to digital vendors or print vendors. You don't have resources left to do anything unique or interesting. All you do is manage vendors and issue instructions. How could you possibly have a creative idea that led to increased awareness of your brand? And the staff you have left are adept at managing vendors and issuing instructions. The ideas that folks have to grow your business have no place in a Marketing Management System of that nature.

Craig:  You finally understand me!

Kevin:  Oh I've understood you for a long time.

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