Catalog Marketing: Your Brand Never Takes a Summer Vacation
As the summer winds down, it may be time to check up on key some elements of your catalog business. Among others, consider reenergizing your brand. As Andrea Syverson, marketing strategist and president of Black Forest, Colo.-based catalog consultancy IER Partners, points out, brands are steadily evolving because customers, the competitive environment and the marketplace is constantly changing. Following are Syverson’s step-by-step strategies for reenergizing your brand.
1. Signs your brand is in trouble: If sales have started to slip or plateau, it’s a sign that your brand isn’t living up to its promise, Syverson says. While you may have decreased prospecting efforts or reduced circulation over the slow summer months, it’s also possible that your competition has begun to succeed in areas where you’ve stagnated. Customers who’ve always shopped with you may have found another option they perceive as better, she notes. The trick is finding those areas that have failed to please customers and improving them.
Another way to tell that your brand needs a shot in the arm is your employees’ attitudes. “If your employees are jazzed about the company, its products and their own futures,” Syverson points out, “they can convey that to customers. But if they’re apathetic in any way, it’ll show.”
2. First step on the road to brand recovery: Once you’ve established that your brand needs an overhaul, fix it. “It starts with fully immersing yourself in the brand and the customer experience,” Syverson says. She recommends asking yourself the following questions:
* What do I ask of my customers, i.e., how do I force them to interact with the catalog?
* Do I make it easy to buy?
* What, if anything, isn’t working the way it used to?
* What’s my competition doing better than I am?
“Sometimes we get so compartmentalized in the day-to-day running of the business that we forget that our customers have to make an effort to seek us out to do business with us,” Syverson says. To reverse that way of thinking, look at every customer touchpoint from the customer’s perspective. If each touchpoint doesn’t provide an intuitive experience, check to see if your competition has a better experience, then improve upon it.