D-Day and the End of the Bloomingdale’s Catalog
Whenever things go wrong and I get depressed, my wife Peggy says, “Cheer up, nobody is shooting at us.”
I used to know Francey Smith, who ran the Bloomingdale’s catalog for years. She was a marketing genius who combined database wizardry with great merchandising savvy. She was one of the best in the world at what she did.
Now the Bloomingdale’s catalog, which has been around since 1886, is being killed off by Macy’s. It has an active file of 472,609 12-month mail-order buying households. A ballpark estimate would be that each household has an average of four people, which means a total of 1.8 million customers with household incomes around $90,000 who spend an average of $190 per order.
With gasoline flirting with $4 a gallon, a war costing $20 billion a month, millions of people being kicked out of their homes and a recession settling in, the catalog and retail businesses are reeling.
So do you give up? Throw in the towel? Say, “The hell with it?”
Peggy and I just got back from Normandy and an intensive three-day immersion in the carnage of World War II and the D-Day invasion. People were shooting at us on June 6, 1944, and an estimated 4,000 troops were killed in 24 hours.
For many, it was tempting to give up and say, “The hell with it.”
But nobody did.
Marketing and War
I did a lot of reading before leaving for Normandy—the official U.S. Army account of the planning and execution of D-Day, as well as Cornelius Ryan’s classic account, “The Longest Day.”
In the history of warfare, nothing like the invasion of France had ever been attempted: shipping 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies across 90 miles of ugly seas and putting them ashore in five days on roughly 70 miles of heavily defended beaches and cliffs.