All the News That’s Good

While at the prescreening for the Annual Catalog Awards (you did check out the list of finalists on page 8, didn’t you?), one of the judges pumped me for industry news. But not just any news. “Tell me some good news for a change,” she asked.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any particularly glad tidings to bear about catalogers. Things continue to be rocky — but you know that.

I do have good news of another sort, however, regarding continuing improvements to Catalog Age.

You may have already noticed that, with the January launch of our Production Page department, we’ve been devoting more editorial to production-related issues. In the coming months, Timothy Gable, the production manager for 1-800-Flowers’ Children’s Group of titles, will contribute his hard-won expertise on such matters as gravure vs. offset printing.

With the June issue, another industry veteran, John Lenser, will begin contributing every other month to our Small Catalogs Forum department. The head of the catalog consultancy that bears his surname, John will address matters that have long challenged many a small cataloger — such as how best to use RFM, merge/purge, and co-op databases to maximize response. In fact, I’d bet that midsize and large catalogers will be able to benefit from his articles as well.

We also have Lauren Freedman of online marketing consultancy The E-tailing Group contributing exclusives to our I.Merchant section in upcoming issues. And of course, we’ll continue to offer our estimable columnists Herschell Gordon Lewis and Jack Schmid — not to mention our award-winning coverage of industry news and trends.

And if I can continue with the boosterism a bit longer, attendees to this year’s Annual Catalog Conference (June 10-13 in Chicago) will see some improvements to the program. The program advisory committee, of which I’m a member, has worked long and hard to ensure that only sessions meeting stringent criteria were included this year. Catalogers and online marketers will also have the chance to get their books and Websites critiqued — for free! — by industry pros. Keynoters include founder Jeff Bezos. And consultant Bill Dean and I will once again moderate a Power Forum. The head honchos who’ve agreed to take part this year include Norm Thompson’s John Emrick and The Mark Group’s Michael Tiernan.

I could rabbit on about the goings-on at both the ACC and Catalog Age (have I mentioned another new department, Retail Report, slated to start next issue?). But as I don’t want to sound like one of those obnoxious new parents who assume that everyone and his brother is dying to know the details of their baby’s every waking and sleeping hour, I’ll shut up and let you wait and see for yourself. And for those of you who thought this column was running too long, that’s good news indeed!

For the latest industry news, updated daily, visit the Catalog Age Website at!

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