Mouse Will Definitely Be Stirring In House
The Woodlands, Texas, December 16, 1994 - Whether it is purchases of hardware and software or buying gifts through catalogs on disk or from online services, this Christmas the mouse will definitely be stirring in the house. Houston firms are getting in on the interactive marketing trend, including one that puts its clients' ads and catalogs on disk and another that has developed a computer brochure. Vic Cherubini, who founded epic software group in The Woodlands to produce electronic catalogs and disk-based advertising, said some advantages of creating catalogs on computer disks are obvious. If a price or something else needs to be changed, the master disk can be revised and a complete run of printed catalogs need not be thrown out, he said.
Although electronic catalogs are most often mailed out in disk form, the material is in a digital format so it can be sent by modem anywhere in the world. It can be put on a computer bulletin board and downloaded into any system. The catalogs fall into four basic categories: Product guides with software that helps buyers pick products best suited to their needs; diagnostic guides that help customers determine causes of problems; configuration guides that help customers place orders; and tools guides that give shoppers things like a glossary and conversion calculator.
Companies can use any combination of the four types of catalogs to customize an electronic buying guide for their target customers. Cherubini said he prefers to stay one generation behind the technological leading edge and will keep putting his client's catalogs on diskette instead of CD-ROM for the near term. His research has shown that although CD-ROM is a promising technology, only about 25 percent of his target clients could use a CD-ROM for mass distribution. "One of the biggest hurdles is getting agencies to understand the concept," Cherubini said.
Market research indicates people are more likely to spend time with an interactive computer catalog than with a video or print, he said. The cost of the interactive catalogs is coming in line with print costs and will soon be cheaper, Cherubini added.
Note: Article reprinted with permission from the Houston Post, 12/16/94