Catalog Doctor: A Pep Up Prescription
Patient: Doctor, our creative has always been snappy — our photos vibrant, copy right on, headlines catchy — and our customers always responded. But lately, sales have been sluggish and customers aren’t responding to our creative like they used to. What’s wrong?
Catalog Doctor: Sounds like you folks have a touch of creative lethargy. It can happen to any cataloger. Your creative just needs some pepping up. Let’s run some tests to see which prescription is right for you. It may require a mix of treatments. Let me start by asking (and responding to) a few questions:
1. When’s the last time you updated your catalog’s look?
If you haven’t updated your look in three or four years, you’ve waited too long. Typically, all things being equal, response will decline in the second year of a repeat look, and then some more in the third year. But when you update your creative, response will pep up. Updates needn’t be major, but response will stay ahead if your catalog keeps looking fresh.
2. Have you “webized” your copy?
The Web is training consumers to expect insta-inform, insta-comprehend messages. Your copy’s length doesn’t have to be shorter, but it does have to be a quicker read.
Examine each headline, subhead and first line of body copy. If that’s all your users read, what message will they get? Is it intriguing? Engaging? Is it clear what’s for sale? Is the main benefit there?
For example, say a product’s body copy starts out, “This gift is filled with a fine selection of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies imaginable.” Sounds OK when read as a sentence, but a quick-scanning reader sees only the first line: “This gift is filled with a fine selection of …”
Mighty boring! After it’s webized, however, that sentence could be edited to start something like this: “The most delicious chocolate chip cookies imaginable …”