Thursday, February 07, 2008

It's 2008, not 1988

Great article by Ken Magill on the surprising laggards in the direct marketing game to adapt to e-commerce, even in this Internet infused world. Including the hilarity of being privacy policy compliant...even with no ability to be so, as no data is being collected. Having been on the forefront of this with one of the world's most direct marketers over 10 years ago, I watched the industry slowly adapt, cautiously embrace, and then often thrive on the change. Reminders like these make me shake my head in astonishment.

Read and enjoy.

Stupid Catalog Watch: You Don't Have a What?
By Ken Magill, Magilla Marketing

A favorite catalog in the Magilla household is Make Life Easier. It's simply full of some of the coolest stuff to, well, make life easier.

For example, there's the four-tools-in-one set of pliers, monkey wrench, pry bar and slot head screwdriver. Then there's the thumb saver, a device that allows the user to hold nails, tacks and screws at a safe distance so they can swing a hammer without worry. Or how about Fatal Funnels: little yellow devices that turn ordinary one- and two-liter soda bottles into wasp traps? Neat-o.

So guess what Make Life Easier doesn't have: An e-commerce enabled Web site. Yes, the cataloger has a Web site, but customers -- or should I say, would-be customers -- can neither browse products nor place orders on it. No kidding.

Customers can order from Make Life Easier by phone, mail or fax ... but not online. Get it? Make Life Easier? Doesn't allow orders to be placed online? Can you say Irony? There must be someone out there in Magilla Marketing land who can help these guys. Please?

Interestingly, has a privacy policy. It seems the privacy wackos have become so deeply entrenched in online marketing culture that they've even convinced a merchant who isn't selling on the Internet to toe the line on their paranoid, anti-free-exchange-of-information philosophies.

"The security of your personal information is important to us, and we take precautions to prevent unauthorized access to that information," says Make Life Easier's privacy policy. "All of the personal information that we collect online resides on a secure server behind a firewall, which is intended to prevent external access to our database."

Um, guys? You're not collecting any personal information online. You won't even let us place an order. The worst you could do is disclose that some random computer user read your privacy policy and clicked through a couple of other pages.

Thanks for the thought, though.

In the meantime, could we have a little chat about your order options, please?

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