Rethinking print catalogs to drive retail and online sales

It is now widely understood that printed direct mail is among the most effective marketing options for reaching customers and influencing buying decisions. It took some years to arrive at this conclusion following poorly researched and ultimately failed money saving promises; moving to an online-only marketing model does not improve or save the bottom line.

For most brands, the return to print has been accompanied by an integrated approach: the paper catalog plays a leading role alongside of coordinated social media and email that brings customers to retail locations and/or websites to make a purchase.

There is ample evidence to reinforce this vision. For example, the Data & Marketing Association and the U.S. Postal Service reports that 9.8 billion catalogs were mailed in 2017 and that there has been a 23 percent increase in the overall response rate. These numbers are owed largely to better targeting and design.

Audience Targeting
It use to be that catalogs produced with proprietary color workflows and printing processes were put in the mail with the “spray and pray” method. Significant resources and time was committed to achieve the desired look while little attention was paid to selecting the right audience. Now, with industry-wide color standards and press automation in place, more resources are being put into data work like segmentation, consumer profiling and market testing. And this does not mean that quantities need to be reduced. Research shows that millenials are receptive to printed catalogs and tend to ignore the cacophony of digital advertising.

Content and Design
The most effective catalog marketers invest in great content and design. With the customer at the center of the plan, catalog pages are increasing being given over to content that supports the products for sale and strengthens brand loyalty. Meanwhile, working with a professional photography and design team that specializes catalogs is the most effective way to deliver the catalog content to your audience.

In the end, your catalog is at the center of your marketing strategy. It must be the one media option that provides all of the things needed for your customers to make the decision to place an online order or go into your store and make a purchase.

At Printwell, we are your catalog advisors and can help you make the right decisions as you plan your catalog production, begin a catalog redesign or relaunch. Contact our office or your account representative to schedule a consultation today.