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AMiable Solution #323: Print Catalogs Aren’t Just for Christmas


Sometimes it seems like we’ve placed so much emphasis and faith in digital marketing that we’ve forgotten about the power of print.


But print marketing still deserves a place in your marketing strategy. If you’ve shied away from print catalogs, or if you eliminated them from your budget entirely this year, consider the following:


· Catalogs are hard to ignore and easy to recognize. Ben Unglesbee, in his October 6, 2017, Retail Dive article, “Why Paper Catalogs Still Matter,*” put it this way: “Even if it’s walked directly from mailbox to trash can, it still offers more time than marketers and creative staff spend with customers through direct emails, which can be deleted sight unseen.” That means that your brand, your message, will still be seen, will still secure a place in your target’s awareness, even if for a brief period.


· Catalogs have longevity. Not everyone will open your catalog, but those who do will spend roughly 20 minutes looking at it,* and they will hold onto it for an average of 20.3 days.**


· Catalogs have a stronger influence on purchase decisions than websites or TV ads. According to the USPS, 72% of people surveyed said that catalogs make them more interested in that retailer’s products, and 84% have purchased an item after seeing it in a catalog.**


· Catalogs get attention. In her article, “Millennials are more interested in catalogs than your grandmother is,” Courtney Reagan reports that half of all Americans order from catalogs, “even if they don’t immediately flip through the mailers.” Furthermore, Reagan says that “after periodicals and bills, catalogs attract the next most eyeballs, getting as much attention as personal correspondence.”***


· Millennials love catalogs. The USPS says millennials embrace direct mail partly because it stands out in their otherwise very electronic world and partly because direct mail, catalogs in particular, cater to their preference for visual and physical content.**


You can make the most of your catalog by keeping your content and your list targeted. Although they are effective, catalogs are not the cheapest way to market your products or services. Focusing on a particular segment of your offerings and creating a catalog promoting them to only the most likely buyers increases your response rate and your returns.


Keeping the images engaging and meaningful will enhance your efforts, too. Tiny photos won’t cut it. Buyers should be drawn in with an image and sold by the copy.


Finally, when and where possible, tell a story about a product’s or service’s history or usage. This additional content, the USPS suggests, helps readers connect with your products and your company and has the potential to drive increased sales.**


Unlike online catalogs, print catalogs have the advantage of putting material directly in your audience’s hands, forcing them to see it and feel it before making the decision to read or recycle it. That’s the power of print.


* “Why Paper Catalogs Still Matter,” Ben Unglesbee, October 6, 2017, https://www.retaildive.com/news/why-paper-catalogs-still-matter/506298/
** “10 REASONS WHY CATALOGS ARE A MARKETING POWERHOUSE,”
https://www.uspsdelivers.com/10-reasons-why-catalogs-are-a-marketing-powerhouse/
*** “Millennials are more interested in catalogs than your grandmother is,” Courtney Reagan, December 21, 2017, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/21/millennials-are-more-interested-in-catalogs-than-your-grandmother-is.html ?
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