Thursday, 8 October 2009

ECMOD quickies

One drawback of attending a conference with an especially good programme of sessions and speakers: There’s no way to cover everything you want to. Such was the case at ECMOD this year. Nonetheless, here’s a selection of notable quotes and quick takeaways that I’ve gleaned fromt the conference, which began yesterday and ran through today at Earls Court in London:

  • “The successful catalogues we work with focus on having a website better than their catalogue,” said Bill LaPierre of list and data firm Direct Media/Millard during his Thursday morning session. This ties in with one of his truisms of direct marketing in the 21st century: The website is the core business, and the catalogue brings in incremental sales—the reverse of the longstanding conventional wisdom.
  • Also from LaPierre: Sixty percent of the success of a catalogue is down to the merchandise, 20 percent to the mailing list, 10 percent to the creative, and the remaining 10 percent to customer service.
  • In addition to helping ecommerce sites with their search engine optimisation efforts (by providing more content for search engine spiders to crawl), a blog “kind of builds a personal trust, as people want more and more information about companies these days,” Karen Watson, co-owner and managing director of The Real Flower Company, said during a Wednesday morning session on social media.
  • At the same session, Wiggly Wigglers founder Heather Gorringe said, “Podcasts aren’t always thought of as social media, but I actually think they’re the start of it all.” Wiggly Wigglers has had great success with its folksy yet informative podcasts, as well as with other social media. Facebook, for instance, drives about 7.5 percent of all traffic to the rural-lifestyle cataloguer’s website, and Twitter drives another 7.5 percent. Of Twitter, Gorringe said, “It puts us on an even platform with companies that have an enormous budget.”
  • Another panelist of the Wednesday morning social-media session, Asos’s James Hart, said, “Your community is not just your customers. Your community is you and your customers.”
  • Discussing his company’s launch in the US market during a session on UK brands expanding overseas, Boden managing director Julian Granville noted, “In the US we planned for just about every disaster scenario there is, but we didn’t plan on this much success.” The message: Just as you should have contingency plans for underperformance, be sure you are prepared for greater-than-expected demand.
  • Think “free” is the most effective word you can use in an email subject line? Think again. In her Thursday afternoon session, Michelle Farabaugh of consultancy Lenser said that of the emails her company had tested, seven of the 10 most-effective ones had “New” in the subject line.

I’ll be posting more-extensive coverage of ECMOD on our Catalogue e-business website ( and in the November issue of Catalogue e-business magazine—once my brain cells have processed everything and, just as important, once my feet have forgiven me for wearing court shoes two days in a row for the first time since last year’s ECMOD.--SC


  1. Interesting comment from wiggly wigglers about twitter et al, i’ve always thought that these sites were not particularly targeted to our potential customer base, and therefore time and resource could be better spent elsewhere. Looks like they are gathering a wider reach now. Signing up to twitter right away, and look forward to the results.
    Chris –

  2. well, as a follow up, 15 months later we have 2300 followers on twitter, which is growing every week...... we have a loyal following, these people tell others about us, and we engage with them both ways..... it has definately resulted in better customer relations and understand for the customer about our business, and us the customers needs - results in managed expectations and more orders....

  3. Glad to hear it! Do you have any tips for other businesses thinking of taking up tweeting? Did you follow any "golden rules"?