Sunday, October 18, 2015

Power of Print Media: Print Catalogs are Alive and Growing

By Kizer & Bender

Holiday 2015 is closer that you might think. We’ve been working lately on marketing ideas to share to help you make this your best season ever. While brainstorming options for capturing and engaging customers we thought about catalogs. Do you currently use catalogs as a marketing tool? Have you thought about it?

We asked our friend Tom Ungrodt, President and CEO of Ideation, Inc., a catalog marketing company that services independent retailers, for his thoughts. Here’s what Tom had to say:

While large retailers have been mailing catalogs for years, now specialty retailers are gearing up and running with the idea. In fact, several of these mega-retailers have significantly upgraded their catalogs recently. Even digital retailers are now mailing catalogs to enhance and support their business.

Why is all this happening in a business that everyone thought was “a dying breed”? Because print simply re-enforces all aspects of a business, giving the consumer one more opportunity to shop from the mailbox. Social media is here to stay, but catalogs are as well.

After many years in the print business I have identified one advantage to print that is often overlooked, SHELF LIFE. When a catalog arrives in a consumer’s mailbox the next stop on the coffee table or kitchen counter where it remains for weeks on end until the family has the opportunity to review it. It’s the opposite of a typical social media post or an email blast that is generally read and gone within minutes. Catalogs have staying power.

To create even more staying power you can personalize it through data base management companies, allowing you infinite methods of directing your print to the exact customer you are targeting.  A retailer should begin to collect customer names and addresses along with emails, and then revert to a data base marketing company which will give you everything you need to successfully mail your piece to your local neighborhoods. Identifying and tracking your customers is much easier today than in the past, particularly if you use social media to collect your information then refine it for print. Catalogs have specific mailing dates and customer source codes allowing exact tracking of your sales objectives.

Retailers have also discovered that catalogs can be used for high quality content marketing. The use of high quality print pieces filled with stories, fashion images, etc. will drive more traffic to the store. If you own a gift store, for example, and have the need to introduce a new product line, a catalog is the perfect way to reach those customers that have an interest. And it’s a great brand-building tool.

Catalogs, social medias, ad, email blasts all potentially attract a different customer base – multichannel marketing is the key to successful retailing now and in the future. Given today’s new dynamics of multichannel marketing and commerce, and the new targeting measurement capabilities  catalog marketing has to offer, I truly believe catalogs are here to stay for many years to come.