Catalog Doctor: More Than a Look-Alike
PATIENT: My catalog’s in a fairly crowded market. All my competitors look similar and carry many similar products. Is that the best way to do it? Will I sell more being more like the competition, or should I work to be
CATALOG DOCTOR: Being different is better for your catalog, but there are some wrinkles, too. Learn the signs and symptoms of being too much like your competitors.
Do your customers get you mixed up with your competitors? If so, you’re losing out on building customer loyalty and higher response.
Sit back, let me tell you a story. Five competitive catalogs carried many of the same products at about the same price points. Their designs were so similar that if you covered up their logos you couldn’t tell which was which, and their names were indistinctive.
To break out of years of zero growth, one of those catalogers studied customer perception of its brand vs. the competition. The surprising result? Customers had the same perception of all five brands. In fact, some customers were shocked to find that they’d been buying from five different brands for 20 years, not just one! Those customers thought they were brand-loyal, but response rates showed otherwise.
The cataloger that performed the study reviewed its unique selling proposition. It then formulated a unique slant within its niche and developed a unique design and copy voice. Making the brand distinctively different increased response by 15 percent and got the book back on a growth path.
Are You No. 2, 3 or 4?
If your catalog is up against a strong, entrenched competitor, it’ll have a hard and costly time going head-to-head with the rival’s brand recognition and loyal audience. So instead, carve your own unique niche out of the market. Find that niche by looking for the unserved vacuum.