It’s the time of year when thousands of catalogers and e-commerce retail web stores are making plans for the Internet Retailing Conference & Exhibition 2012: scrambling for rooms in over-booked hotels, trolling the Web for reasonable airfares and juggling work and family schedules. Not to mention spending a ton of money. Our booth is reserved - #544 - and we are beginning to tell our clients that they should head to Chicago because this is the biggest e-commerce show in the country.
For an exhibitor, attending marketing conferences is an expensive proposition, but also an important investment in sales and lead generation. We learn a lot on the exhibit floor, but more importantly, we get an opportunity to meet face-to-face with exisiting clients, as well as new potential catalog marketers.
On the flip side of manning our booth and talking with show attendees about Catalogs.com, we create a schedule for our team to leave the exhibit floor and attend learning sessions.
Are you thinking about attending one of the upcoming the catalog marketing conferences, but you're not sure what to expect? Are you concerned that there won't be enough ROI (return on investment)?
If you're a catalog marketer or simply have an e-commerce website where you sell product, there is nothing better you could do for your business than sign up for one of these conferences. Your knowledge about the do's and don'ts of catalog marketing and multichannel marketing will grow many times over in just a few days, even if you've been in the business for years.
Still not sure? Here's my list of the top 10 things you'll get from targeted conferences pertaining to your business.
10. You'll learn that you're not alone
Spending time with your peers at a catalog conference is more than just socializing. It will remind you that you're not alone, as you struggle with soaring postage costs, the constantly changing digital world and uncertain economics.
9. You'll learn from others’ mistakes
If you're in the catalog business, you've made mistakes now and then. And some of them may have been costly. Attending catalog conferences lets you avoid some potential expensive (or at least annoying) future mistakes by listening to other catalogers talk about what didn't work and why.
8. You'll learn about the newest technology
The world of catalogs is constantly changing, and you need to keep up to stay on top. A conference will introduce you to the newest options in printing, layout, metrics, virtual catalogs and online interactive catalogs. At many, you'll also learn about newer green business options for earth-friendly catalog publishing.
7. You'll meet vendors who can print, mail or track your catalogs
Vendors come and go. But depending on where your company is located, you may have a hard time finding a replacement vendor locally. A conference lets you meet and talk with vendors from all over, giving you more chances to try new options, save money or improve distribution.
6. You'll learn new ways to promote your catalog
Even established catalogs need promotion. And new catalogs need to get their start from zero. A catalog marketing conference is a great place to learn new ways to get the word out about your catalogs.
5. You'll get new ideas for content and layout
Catalogs can get stale and unappealing if the same layout, descriptions, colors and fonts are used year after year. These conferences are a great place to see new design options that could give your catalog a facelift ... or a total makeover.
4. You'll learn how people read advertising copy
It's easy to fall into the trap of writing catalog copy to tell people what you want them to know. At a conference, there are usually workshops that help catalog copy writers learn how to flip that around and write the things shoppers need and want to know before they buy.
3. You'll learn how to integrate web and print catalogs
Web and downloadable catalogs are here to stay, but many catalogers aren't sure how they fit into their marketing plan. And some aren't sure how they work. Conferences can give you the information you need to make the new formats work for you.
2. You'll learn how to make your catalog business more efficient
Catalog business management, finance, staffing and tracking are all standard fare for most catalog conferences. The new ideas you'll learn could make your company more effective and boost the bottom line.
1. You'll remember why catalogs matter to consumers
Probably the best thing of all is that you'll come home with a new appreciation for all you do. You'll remember why catalogs work, and why they're not going away any time soon. And that alone is a great reason to go.