*The Gold Standards

Beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder. But judging marketing excellence, as is the purpose of Catalog Age’s Annual Catalog Awards, requires objectivity. The Gold Award winners that are profiled on the following pages all met — and often exceeded — merchandising, marketing, service, production, and creative criteria and standards, to create effective, profitable sales tools.

The objectivity of those standards enable a relatively modest company such as Catalyst Communication to earn a Gold Award alongside a nationally known brand such as Harry and David. Balancing measurable results with intangibles such as eye flow and mood allows companies that sell less-than-photogenic products such as waste containers and handcuffs to be deemed the best in the business next to purveyors of easy-on-the-eyes merchandise such as children’s clothes and exotic vacations.

And perhaps best of all, the existence of standards makes it possible for just about every cataloger to achieve excellence. Neither luck nor kismet can create a Gold Award-winning catalog. But ensuring a superlative shopping experience, by following the best practices demonstrated by this year’s winners, can.

Congratulations to this year’s Annual Catalog Award recipients. I’m sure reading the details of their winning ways will inspire some of next year’s honorees.