I just got an email from a cataloger who had recently returned from the ACCM catalog conference in New Orleans. He reported with dismay that attendance had dropped significantly, down to about 500 from around 2,000 just a couple years ago.
What I found interesting was this particular cataloger is the quintessential example of doing what so many companies do – following the same old marketing strategies, and simply trying to do them better when times get tough. When that’s what you’re focused on, it’s easy to miss when a change in strategy is called for, and that’s exactly what the plunge in ACCM attendance suggests to me.
I’m a huge fan of the company I’m mentioning; I’ve been buying plants from them for decades. They excel at imparting a lot of specific plant attributes in an easy-to-use format. Their website allows you to search by dozens of variables simultaneously, a hugely useful feature. And there’s no company that does a better job of making strong offers in the catalog, on their website, and in their packages.
But they’re missing the boat. Even though I’m a customer, I’ve never received an email form them. I did recently find a signup page for promotional emails buried deep within their site, at the bottom of their catalog request page. (I never went there before because I already get their catalog.)
They don’t publish an enewsletter. Don’t have product reviews on their website. Or video. Or publish a blog.
When I asked the company owner about this some months ago, his response was, “We’ve thought about it, but we’re already too busy running the business.”
I hope he realizes soon that, if he wants to continue to have a business to run, new marketing tactics aren’t optional any more. It’s a good reminder for all of us.