Take a Bow

Are you familiar with the Zingerman’s catalog? I wasn’t, until recently. Zingerman’s is a relatively small marketer of gourmet breads, snacks, spices, cheeses, and other specialty foods. The catalog itself, at first glance, is modest. No fancy (read: expensive) food photography, no glossy paper. It’s a slim-jim with eccentric illustrations in lieu of product photos.

It’s also a finalist in Catalog Age’s 16th Annual Catalog Awards.

I’m singling out Zingerman’s from the 67 finalists announced so far (the finalists in the international and I.Merchant categories will be announced shortly) because it proves that you don’t need tons of cash to produce a fabulous and successful catalog.

And “successful” is key. One of the criteria on which the entries are judged is whether they met or exceeded their sales goals. If the most gorgeous, well-written, wonderfully serviced catalog does not make money, then it’s not a winner in what counts most, is it?

I’m especially excited by this year’s crop of finalists because there are so many new, small, or unexpected catalogers among them: CMC Rescue Equipment, Super Duper Publications, Chico’s, Health Edco…. Of course, it’s wonderful to look through all the books that made the finals, and those that just missed the cut as well. For one thing, we pick up lots of great story ideas from perusing the catalogs. For another, we discover new companies to shop from. I, for one, can often be found lurking in the room where we keep the Awards entries, reading the catalogs under the guise of “doing research.” And in fact, I am doing research — I’m researching overalls for my daughter, a computer desk for my husband…and yes, I confess, animal-print accessories for me.

You can check out the Annual Catalog Awards finalists on page 9. And on June 6, at the Annual Catalog Conference in Boston, you can be among the first to find out who won, at the special luncheon presentation cohosted by Herschell Gordon Lewis and me. In the meantime, a round of applause please for the judges who helped us winnow down the field; for our special projects manager, Shayn Ferriolo, who spearheads the Awards; and of course, for all the entrants.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more “research” to do.

On a completely different subject, have you visited the Catalog Age Website lately? In late February we completely overhauled it. It still features weekly news updates, plus postings of late-breaking stories as they happen. But now it includes the most recent version of the print issue, in case you want to e-mail particular stories to colleagues, as well as job listings, an archive of back issues, and other nifty features. And because www.CatalogAgemag.com is part of the MarketingClick.com portal, when you’re on the Catalog Age site you can easily access all manner of marketing news, commentary, and features. So if you haven’t checked us out online recently, you really should!

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