Genesis of a disaster

In response to the October Editor’s Page (“Avoiding the `Genesis effect'”) on cataloger Genesis Direct: I loved the first book of the Torah, enjoyed the Star Trek movie, but loathed the direct marketer. The fall of Genesis Direct, which changed its name – but not its attitude – to Proteam.com, was hardly shocking.

I once spoke with a Genesis marketing manager. She seemed to be driven by a ruthless corporate culture that cultivated stress and anxiety.

My strongest signal that Genesis Direct was floundering was an unpleasant attempt to buy several items for my son in late January. Delivery was promised in five to seven days. After more than three weeks and several customer service calls, we canceled the order. A week later, our order arrived. The return and credit processing was more irritating than the ordering experience.

Recent stories blame the strategy and execution of the business plan as a major factor in the failure of Genesis Direct. I suggest the failure may have had more to do with attitude. When you don’t care about employees or customers, it’s very hard to be successful. When you concentrate on growth instead of development, you get bigger not better. Okay, a little catalog experience would help a catalog company too.

And the beat goes on. It’s a good thing cash flow is more important than profit. That’s what Chapter 11 is all about. Eight catalogs taking orders: Let’s hope they’re fulfilled. Five titles sold: We wish them every success. Sixteen titles folded or in a holding pattern: May they rest in peace.

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