Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sears Catalogue

On Aug 14, I posted about the destructive marketing messages that people in your company might be sending. All the creative work of the “marketing department” can go ‘down the drain’ because of sloppy execution or poorly trained front line staff.

Then along comes Sears, providing a good example.

The Sears catalogue was delivered today. Where would you expect to find your Sears catalogue when you look out your front door in the morning? In the mail box? In the magazine rack? Perhaps laying on the mat? Maybe on the porch? Or at least close to your door?
All reasonable guesses and expectations.

I discovered the Sears catalogue at the far end of the drive by the street where I normally put my garbage for pickup. I know that’s how papers are delivered in rural areas – end of the driveway - but we are right in the city. It’s a short driveway – tough to fit two cars one behind the other. It is not a long walk to my front door from the street. Yet the Sears catalogue was dropped or thrown out of a car window on my driveway as though it were litter.

As I went for my morning run I noticed all the houses on my street and neighbouring streets had a Sears catalogue on the driveway by the edge of the road. Fortunately they were wrapped in plastic because it had rained. Most were probably dry inside the bag – assuming that householders would pick up the wet package, brush off the wet leaves and not throw it directly into the garbage.

Some packages were ripped open and the pages strewn across lawns.

Just imagine the time and money that went into the creation of that catalogue – plus the hopes of the CEO and VP sales. They probably patted themselves on the back for creating another colourful catalogue. The marketing department probably awarded themselves another trophy for their creative design.

So will anyone really know why sales are down during this next season?

Perhaps they’ll conclude that catalogues don’t work anymore.

Where the catalogue is placed is a small detail – and small details can sink your marketing campaign.

George Torok

Power Marketing


Helen Gates said...

Thank you for the informative article. I can relate to this story well because in my business, it's the catalogues and books that advertise our products. Then if the customer wishes to place an order, then they will contact us.

In our case, we usually send our catalogues by mail or by courier so this way the customer or prospect receives it directly into their mailbox. This way it won't get destroyed by the rain nor will it strewn across their lawns.

Best regards,

Helen Gates
Gates Marketplace
Brampton, Ontario

George Torok said...

Well the folks at Sears are paying attention.

I just received a phone call from the head of distribution for Sears Canada asking for more details about this incident.

She was thankful that I brought this to their attention and relieved that it happened five years ago.

Why was this noticed now?

I recently rewrote this blog post and posted it as an article on the article sites. The folks at Sears noticed this "news" because they are subscribed to Google Alerts.

Good for them.