Sunday, February 5, 2012
I must confess that the deluge of brightly colored pictures contained within all these unsolicited pages is pleasant, but they are wasted on me in this winter of my discontent. In fact, I am always skeptical of the power of advertising to sway my purchases and this cold winter I am completely immovable. There are some firms represented here that I feel offer stellar quality plants or seeds, and others that I view with a little less charity, but all in all, I found little this year to entice me, even as I starve for green pastures and colorful borders. I glanced through all of them, and I'll likely come back to one or two particular catalogs that may have a few treasures, but otherwise, I'm just not in a plant buying mood this year.
I've always doubted the cost-effectiveness of unsolicited and mass-mailed catalogues, no matter the field. The days of the Sear's catalogue dominance are long gone. I can't fathom how much profit it took just one of these horticultural firms to produce a colorful catalog and distribute it to their hundreds of thousands of potential customers. In this day of the Internet, however, I feel that there must be far less expensive ways to reach consumers. Even when similar catalogues have opened my wallet in prior years, I only order a few plants from each company, probably not enough merchandise to make producing it a profitable enterprise for them.
If you are reading this, you company presidents and CEO's, my advice would be to eliminate your advertising budgets along with the slick-talking leeches that create those fleeting enticements, and place the savings towards reducing the costs of your plants. Word of mouth in the social media will take care of the rest. Most of your loyal customers are happy to search out your plants on the Internet, reminded by a timely special email or electronic notice, or just reminded by their own greed to purchase another 44 roses for that new bed. We don't need reminders stuffed into our mailboxes and we don't want to max out the credit card balances for our yearly fix. My apologies to the millions of marketing people I just recommended for unemployment and the for the further losses to the beleaguered US Postal Service, but, like lawyers, a few less "ad men" won't be missed. And Mrs. ProfessorRoush won't have to move stacks of catalogues to dust the furniture.