Asset Management - The Digital Revolution (1,374 words)
It was December 1997 when Langhorne, PA-based Lenox Collections began talking about creating an internal database of product images. "We realized that to serve our many internal clients—including media and direct mail advertising, the catalog group, retail and U.K divisions and e-commerce—we needed access to our images through an inhouse archive," recalls Lisa Woodard, director of creative services for Lenox Collections, the direct marketing division of Lenox Inc. Until then, the company hadn't sat down and added up the value of this huge asset: It has over 2,000 solo product images valued at $800 a piece, totaling $1.6 million, plus another 1,200 catalog images. Woodard says, "This was a major asset that needed to be made available and managed effectively."
At about the same time, the company was getting set to create an e-commerce site. That, Woodard says, simply added fuel to the fire in terms of making the image database project a priority and helping to get funding for the necessary equipment. Woodard says, "The Internet arrived on our doorstep," and as a result, the company had to get moving on the project sooner rather than later.
"It was a heck of a process, but well worth it," Woodard says in hindsight, noting that the databasing process already has proven itself many times over.
Lenox Collections' product mix is largely made up of collectibles, ranging from sculptures and figurines to home decor items and jewelry. To sell its wares, the company uses a broad array of direct response media and relies on high-quality product images to convince its customers to buy.
The target audience for all these media is the typical Lenox buyer: females between the ages of 45 and 60 with some college education. "There is not much difference in the type of customers reached via different media," Woodard says. Since the current Web site is relatively new, its role in the overall media mix is a "developing one," she adds.