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On March 13, 2015

Print’s Not Dead: The Return of the…Catalog? You Bet!

Sometimes we don’t know a good thing ‘til it’s gone, right? Well, that’s certainly the case when it comes to print catalogs.

During the recession, catalogs took a deep dive. However, something interesting happened in 2013; according to the Direct Marketing Association, 11.9 billion catalogs were sent out that year – an increase of about 1 percent from the year before.

Need more proof that catalogs are making a comeback? JCPenney made headlines in mid-January when the retailer announced plans to bring back its print catalog.

Although an act that puzzles many modern-day marketers, it appears that consumers really enjoy looking through print catalogs. Many execs, like JCPenney CEO, Myron Ullman, originally believed shoppers preferred to view catalogs online. But the data didn’t lie; after in-depth analysis, the company discovered they lost a lot of customers when they terminated their catalog circulation in 2010.



Tell Your Story

Marketing is about storytelling; and the best brands tell the best stories. According to Bonobos’ VP of Marketing, catalogs allow “…us to tell a fuller narrative about the brand and our products in a way that we were struggling to do online.” Whatever your brand or product, it’s likely that a direct mail catalog could be that missing element from your marketing campaign. To help you get a head-start, we’ve listed 3 important factors that will help you increase your catalog’s ROI:

  • Focus on your existing customers. Catalogs cost more than an oversized postcard, but they also offer a much higher ROI. However, you don’t want to test your catalog out on just anyone. In the beginning, stick to the people who already buy from you – your loyal customers. Over time, you can expand your catalog mailing list to include prospective customers as well, but starting out with your repeat buyers will likely result in higher profitability for the first round of mailings.
  • View your catalog as a magazine for customers. That wise advice comes from a statement Felix Carbullido, the CMO at Williams Sonoma, made to NPR. “[Catalogs] have become more editorial. They’ve become more of a sourcebook for ideas.” Create visions that inspire your customers to make a purchase. That means less hard selling and more creativity.
  • Implement your catalog as part of a multi-channel equation. Use your direct mail catalog to drive sales online. Your catalogs should coincide with your online eCommerce strategy, so make sure that your brand’s voice, design, and message remain consistent and engaging.

Create Your Catalog

It’s now or never – jumpstart your 2015 marketing strategy with a consumer-driven catalog. To find out more about the cost, process, and benefits of distributing a catalog, just give us a call or send us an email today.

  • By Hal.Cohen  0 Comments