Follow us on

Return on Intelligence

By Jim Gilbert

About Jim

Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing.

Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.


Retail Revelations

Melissa Campanelli
’Tis the Season for Experienced Retail Sales Associates
Nov 15, 2013

Many retailers are preparing for the busy holiday shopping days ahead by making sure their websites are working properly, their...

Catalog Doctor

Susan J. McIntyre
Why Catalogs Aren't a Bunch of Ads Stapled Together
Apr 11, 2014

PATIENT: "Doc, our new owners want to change the catalog so it's more like a series of ads — aspirational, exciting,...

B-to-B Insights

George Hague
2 Must-Have B-to-B Metrics
Apr 9, 2014

Smart CEOs know two essential B-to-B metrics to successfully grow their businesses: contribution per order (CPO) for new customers and...

The Art of Delivering Style

Maria Haggerty
3 Ways Retailers Can Avoid Warehouse Scalability Problems
Apr 2, 2014

Although growing quickly may seem like the ideal scenario, it can cause operational issues for retailers who are ill equipped...

Return on Inventory

Joe Palzkill
Inventory Planning Advice From Mike Tyson
Mar 20, 2014

With so many demands on your time, it's tough to break away and attend any function, but the NEMOA Spring...

Designed to Convert

Tim Ash
Are Smartphones Bad at Conversions?
Mar 12, 2014

Tablets are winning. At least that's what it looks like if you've been keeping score. Adobe and Monetate generally agree...

Shipping Insights

Rob Martinez
2014-2015 Conference Calendar for Supply Chain, Distribution, Postal, Specialized Industry and More
Mar 4, 2014

The value of attending conferences is significant: learn from a combination of expert and peer-led presentations on trends and strategies...

ThinkAbout: Inspirational Verve for Your Product Line!

Andrea Syverson
How Ikea Practices Continual Improvement for its Brand
Feb 27, 2014

"There's more to life than furniture" declares a bold headline in a recent Ikea catalog. Perhaps a somewhat surprising statement from...


Stephen Lett
Actions to Take (or Not Take) When Response Rates Decline
Feb 19, 2014

Catalog response rates have been flat or trending down the past few years … or so it seems. The web...

Retail Rants & Raves

Joe Keenan
Tips for Customizing the Online Shopping Experience
Nov 8, 2013

In an effort to give you a sneak peek into the upcoming Retail Online Integration webinar, One Size Does NOT...

Email Applied

Reggie  Brady
Taking Advantage of Events, Not Just the Big Holidays
Sep 16, 2013

Most marketers develop an editorial and promotional master calendar to help organize their upcoming email schedule. You want to have...

2 Simple Ways to Become a Social Media Thought Leader and Build Your Following

Today I begin a new series about social media marketing. The goal is to help you become more adept at getting exposure for your business, or yourself for that matter. For this installment, I focus on general tips. As I get deeper into the series, I'll get specific to individual platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.). These social media marketing tips can be used anywhere. Want to become a thought leader in your industry? Start (as I did) with these steps:  Read More >>

Branding and Management #Fail: What Does Ruth’s Chris Steak House Have to Do With Moe’s Southwest Grill?

There's an old marketing adage that goes like this: How many drops of pee does it take to ruin the punch? The answer naturally is just one. I recently visited Ruth's Chris Steak House in my hometown for a family dinner. The service was excellent, the food was just OK … but that's not the story!


A Guide to Disaster Planning for Your Business

As I sit here stuck in a hotel room in North Carolina while it snows for the second day in a row, I realized it was time once again for my annual guide to disaster planning for your business. Is your business ready for a natural disaster or severe weather? Here are some tips that I've published over the years based on firsthand experience. (I live in Florida, so I've seen a few hurricanes, floods, tornados and other severe weather.)   Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Facebook: Marketing's Greedy, Petulant Child

My congratulations to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his staff on its 10th birthday. As a consumer, I enjoy the social networking site as a connection portal to my friends and family. For that it is invaluable. However, as a marketer who has been there since Facebook business pages began, I really hope that the next 10 years of Facebook becomes more business-centric.  


Much Ado About Marketing: Another Year, Another DMA Conference

Every year there's a different focus to the Direct Marketing Association's Annual Conference. This morning I'm heading out to Chicago to witness the spectacle once again. And once again (if you pardon the shameless self-promotion), I'll be presenting my session, The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing. My session is part of the DMA's "Back by Popular Demand" series. In truth, I haven't read much about DMA13. Frankly, I want to be surprised.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Why I Love LinkedIn’s Skills Endorsement Feature


You may have noticed over the last few months that when you look at a person's LinkedIn profile, you're asked, "Does ‘Joe Blow’ have <insert these skills here> skills or expertise?" It's a blue box at the top of your screen, you can't miss it. Or you may have received an email telling you that you've "been endorsed for specific skills." This is a great feature on Linkedin, and here's why:




Slinging Some Hash(tags) on Facebook

I'll keep this post short and sweet. Recently Facebook finally did something right for us marketers by opening its network for #hashtags. Frankly, it's about time it did something right. Facebook has been losing ground as a marketing platform — well, maybe it was never even meant to be a marketing platform — but be that as it may, it's done much to disconnect brands from their hard-won fans.  Read More >>


How Call Tracking Can Make or Break Your Next Marketing Campaign


It's come to my attention that you may not be tracking your business fully, and therefore are missing many good marketing and advertising opportunities. By fully tracking I mean tracking all calls that come into your call center, especially all campaign-related calls. There are simple, inexpensive online tools that enable you to track your service calls. 



Companies Mentioned:


Turning a Negative Into a Positive: A Corporate Culture Odyssey

I've been on-site with a client for the last two weeks. We're in the middle of a turnaround on a 45-plus-year-old brand that was once the world leader in its industry. Today, due to competition and other factors, the company's image is "dusty" and in need of a major boost. Here are some great takeaways I've learned from this brand over the past two weeks:  Read More >>

7 Customer Service Tactics to Copy From Apple

Over the years I've called Apple maybe 30 times. Never a bad experience. Just easygoing people happy to help me with my problems, who always took the time to get it right — even called me back if I got disconnected. A vastly different experience than I've had trying to call other companies. So what can marketers take away from Apple?


6 Tips to Capture Every Site Visitor

One of the universal truths I see is a lack of understanding by many marketers, from newbie to experienced, of what their website is really for. I know, I know, marketers always say the right thing: It's about conversion. When I look at their website and ask them what their site conversion rate is, I hear them proudly state, "I convert 2 percent, look how good I'm doing!" (And of course some marketers don't even know what their site conversion rate is.)



The New CompUSA Rights a Wrong

Two weeks ago in my blog, I totally skewered CompUSA and its warranty company (found out it's Assurant Solutions) for not doing the right thing and honoring the extended warranty I purchased for a high-definition television.

Companies Mentioned:

Warranties, Guarantees: Reducing the Barriers to Purchasing (the Good and the Bad)

A solid guarantee is an important part of the selling process. It tells consumers that you stand behind your products and are truly focused on their needs. Prominently displaying your guarantee on your website and/or catalog makes sense, and should be heavily promoted as part of your offer.

Companies Mentioned:

Latest Employment Report a Reason to Smile

Today I bring you the latest quarterly employment survey from Bernhart Associates. I find it very encouraging, and hope you will too. A rebound in hiring in the direct and cross-channel retail industries spells good news for all of us — and the economy in general.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

How to Mess Up a Perfectly Good Customer Experience

As a marketer, you should be overly concerned about how your customers experience your brand, products and customer service. I evangelize how in the internet age it's very easy for a company to wind up getting skewered via social media.  Read More >>