Computer and High-Tech Equipment

GOLD: Print Channel

Black Box Corp., Network Services 2008

Black Box puts the big in big book. But this 834-page catalog of networking products has brains as well as brawn. As one judge pointed out: “The sheer wealth of knowledge in the catalog is impressive.”

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: This catalog starts strong: “The front cover clearly presents the brand through the masthead and coverlines,” one judge said. “The back cover highlights savings and low prices.”

The merchandise assortment is broad and deep, which “gives the impression that they are the experts and the resource for all networking needs,” a panelist said. Detailed technical copy is effectively presented in bullets. The tabs, table of contents, index and section breaks “are useful organizing tools that help ease of shopping,” one judge said. “The focus is clear and is executed successfully.”

IDEA TO STEAL: “They understand the customer need and approach their whole strategy with this in mind,” said one judge. “The b-to-b customer wants to find what they need when they need it — these guys make it easy.” — JT

Manager, media services: Julia Leigh

Designers: Roy Geer, Bill Hannen, Shari Scott, Joe Slebonick, Megan Vaites, David Wheaton, Joe Symoski

Marketing director: Brian Kutchma

Catalog supervisor: Deborah Baran

Catalog team leader: Darlene Davis

Writers: Caren Bachmann, Jean Massaro, Andrew Phillips, Roberta Szyper

Traffic/production: Jennifer Galbraith, Missy Brytus

Photographer: Rich Angeloff

Editorial: Julie Daubner

Printer/color separator: R.R. Donnelley

Consultant: J. Schmid & Associates

Next Page: Crutchfield Corp.

SILVER: Print Channel

Crutchfield Corp., Fall 2008

Atrusted expert for 34 years, Crutchfield is the go-to catalog for consumer electronics. And this edition, which introduced Samsung’s thinnest HDTV ever and offers free lifetime product support with every purchase, shows why Crutchfield is one of the best — and a Silver Award winner.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: “Here’s a perfect example of how to get an award winner — Crutchfield starts out with a specific goal in mind, develops a strategy across all disciplines to achieve it , and then executes on a high-quality level,” one panelist said. “It’s no surprise they had such great results.”

Another panelist praised the book for its great information, along with an “appropriate level of geek-speak,” as well as its organization. “Loved the personal adviser angle. It is a warm and well-developed approach. Techy doesn’t have to be boring.”

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD AWARD: A few nitpicky things, such as overuse of red for the delivery methods, and confusing service descriptions. “I was not clear on what “scheduled threshold” delivery was,” said one panelist. “Door-to-door is more common. I first read threshold as a tolerance, not the thing you step over.” — JT

Marketing director: Brendan Edgerton

Creative director: Amy Lenert

Print/production director: Tim Henson

Copywriters: Mike Colley, Mike Sokolowski

Editors: Barry Montgomery, Matt Freeman

Photographer/illustrator: J. Stoll

Printer: Quad Graphics

List broker: Steve Bogner

Consultant: J. Schmid & Associates

Next Page: Crutchfield

SILVER: Web Channel

Crutchfield’s catalog has long been the bible for electronics enthusiasts. Now its Website is fast becoming a community for personal and home electronics shoppers, with plenty of products, reviews and advice on installation and set-up.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: Shoppers needn’t fear buying technical products from this site. Crutchfield holds your hand from start to finish, ensuring the customers that the company is there to support the purchase.

Judges were also impressed with the strides Crutchfield has made with social media. Customer reviews help drive interest in the products, and flow well alongside the recommendations of Crutchfield’s employee experts.

And Crutchfield’s use of video, forums and blogs to guide the customer added to its social media marketing prowess. It helps that the merchant’s audience likely understands social tools.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD AWARD: “The category pages are poorly organized and somewhat overwhelming,” said one judge. “They should work harder at making those easy to use and navigate.” — TP

Creative director: Amy Lenert

Marketing director: John Haydock

Webmaster: Archie Miller

Website designers: Russ Bombardieri, Heidi Howard, Olivia McDaniel, Dave Munt, Christopher Welte

Merchandisers: Scott Anderson, Tom Bancroft, Jeff Fay, Tim Freeman, Carl Mathews, Angie Price

Editorial directors: Mike Colley and Mike Sokolowski

Web editors: Charlie Pastorfield, Jim Ralston

Photographer/illustrator: J. Stoll

Senior manager of online acquisition: Garrett Mathews

Next Page:

GOLD: Web Channel

If you’re “with the band,” or even just a wanna-be, chances are you’re a fan of Musician’s Friend. The merchant’s catalog is a must-read for budding and professional musicians; its Gold-Award-winning Website is a must-visit.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD AWARD: Musician’s Friend serves up a robust site with multiple offers and incentives and logical layout. The filtering is superb, with multiple choices for sorting. And its “compare” feature and user reviews make it easy to shop.

Flat out, the folks at know how to sell product. Its robust merchandising packs a punch, and it offers great promos with its “Hot Deals” and “Stupid Deal of the Day.” The site offers multiple ways to navigate to products, such as by instrument or by artist. And the copy is fun: “It’s insightful and light, but uses technical information when it’s needed,” said one of the judges.

IDEA TO STEAL: makes great use of customer comments and hands-on product reviews, iPhone apps, videos, newsletters and lots more. And it’s all done without sacrificing the e-commerce experience. — TP

Creative director: Jason Cave

Marketing director: So Young Park

Webmaster: Portia Becker

Website designer: Tom Boyles

Search engine marketing: Shanti Shunn

Copywriter: Marty Paule

Photographer/illustrator: Dave Blees

Brand manager: Julie Fletcher

Online production: Jim Haley

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