Why do attendees come to the Annual Conference for Catalog & Multichannel Merchants (ACCM)? Is it to listen to presentations from their peers and industry experts? To shop for goods and services in the Exhibit Hall? To catch up with colleagues they haven’t seen since the previous industry event?
Yes, yes, and yes.
The MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT staff contacted a random sampling of attendees to find out their motives for heading to McCormick Place this week. Here’s what they told us:
Jay Rayher, president of Long Island City, NY-based Adirondack Direct, a supplier of office and institutional furniture: “I’ll be looking to attend as many b-to-b sessions as I can to learn more about what the competition is doing. While we are currently much more of a catalog company these days, events like ACCM can help us kick start our Web business.”
Anoop Cherian, circulation manager for Philadelphia-based women’s apparel and home decor cataloger/retailer Anthropologie: “It’s a great networking opportunity. You meet a lot of people dealing with the same issues and problems as you are. Also, there are plenty of vendors there, and you want to make sure all your technology and services are current.”
Jaimey Alumbaugh, assistant marketing manager for Wood Dale, IL-based Action Bags: “This is a cataloger’s one-stop shop for education, networking, discovering new vendors, and learning the industry’s latest trends. If there’s any one show for catalogers to attend, it’s ACCM… While we are there, we are hoping to solidify our existing relationships and grow new ones. Overall we hope to gain information and methods to make our business more successful.”
Barry Litwin, vice president/general manager for Wheeling, IL-based Block & Co.: “Hearing from all the experts helps validate best practices to manage circulation planning, database management, and e-commerce marketing. And networking with the industry pros is a great way to build a strong knowledge base in the local Chicago area as well as nationally. This network gives me a great sounding board for new ideas as well as building contacts with prospective candidates.”
Chad Bragg, marketing analyst for Sidney, NE-based Cabela’s, a cataloger/retailer of outdoor sporting gear, and a first-time attendee: “A lot of what I currently do at Cabela’s focuses on catalogs. But I’m looking to branch out into multichannel stuff—to see how other companies integrate everything together.”
Susie Boghosian, director of marketing for Washington-based Smithsonian Catalogue: “Nothing around the catalog business ever stays the same, and the show always provides an opportunity to reconnect with people—to once again match up names with faces…Everything in our catalog relates to the [Smithsonian] museum in some way. As a nonprofit entity, we rely on shows like ACCM to educate the industry on who we are.”
Meg Garabrant, marketing analyst for Peterborough, NH-based Eastern Mountain Sports: “I’m interested in the online stuff that’s happening. I look at the conference from a multichannel aspect.”
Julie Edwards, president of London-based Europe by Net, a marketer of discount European home decor, and another first-time attendee: “I’m very interested to hear about current U.S. thinking on many of the subjects that we are being challenged by in the U.K. in the multichannel sector. The U.S. is still a year or two ahead in the e-commerce wave, it seems, so what is going on there is a bit of a preview of what is to come in Europe. I’m planning on attending a lot of the sessions on Web and e-mail marketing as well as on circulation strategies. So many of the sessions sound so interesting, it is going to be impossible to fit in everything I would like to do!”
Mark Glazer, copy director for food, apparel, and decor mailer Monroe, WI-based Swiss Colony, whose titles include Ginny’s, Midnight Velvet, and Seventh Avenue: “We [the creative team, which is sending seven staffers this year] look forward to the event not so much to interface with vendors, but more to hear what’s going on in the marketplace. There’s always a lot of catalog talk going on, plus a slew of new Internet sites for our creative people to learn about.”