Live From NEMOA: Miles Kimball’s Krangel on Staying Alive

Ledyard, CT—Stan Krangel has been running businesses for 30 years, and, as he told NEMOA attendees during his Sept. 18 keynote, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Krangel, president of multititle gifts cataloger Miles Kimball Co. and ACMA chairman, said that “the American spending epidemic has come to a halt, and this is affecting everyone.”

So how is Miles Kimball, which is owned by Blyth and also included the Walter Drake, Easy Comforts, Exposures, Home Marketplace, and As We Change catalogs, adjusting to the new realities? Here are a few of the tips he offered up to NEMOA attendees.

Deeply scrutinize marginal activity. Miles Kimball this year has made to decision to “slow or stop activities that didn’t show a profit,” Krangel said.

Keep the “A” team. Times may be tough, but you need to make sure you’re doing what you can to retain your best people. You may even have the opportunity to bring on new talent now with so many marketers out of work.

Be mindful of “megatrends.” These include the growth of the 50+ and Hispanic markets, technology, green marketing/products and charitable giving.

Make hard decisions on weak brands, and efforts. Miles Kimball has regular “unmerciful shift” of resources meetings, Krangel said. “Budgets are good for about 12 hours,” then it’s all about the forecast.

Be sure that your products or services unique. It sounds like common sense, but “as an industry, we’ve lost our ability to offer unique products,” he said. Brands don’t have a right to exist, Krangel said, “they have to earn that right every day.”

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