Special Report: More Web, More Print or Both?
While technology makes many things easier, it also can complicate your job. And as the Internet — and all that goes with it — has evolved over the past dozen years or so, catalogers’ jobs have become a lot more complex. Beyond merely becoming e-commerce and multichannel marketing experts, catalogers must pay closer attention to analytics and constantly reconsider how they allocate their marketing budgets.
Ask any multichannel merchant and you’ll hear the same thing: The rubber stamp has no role in making marketing plans these days. The ongoing changes in e-commerce force catalogers to constantly reinvent the wheel. Add the killer postage increase this past May, and your best-laid plans probably won’t take full shape until close to Jan. 1.
In November, nearly one-third of respondents to a reader poll on the Catalog Success Web site said they planned to spend more money on Web marketing and less on print catalog mailings in 2008, although more than 40 percent said they intended to spend more on both channels.
For this report, Catalog Success canvassed catalogers and other multichannel marketing experts to find out what those best-laid plans ought to be for 2008 and how e-commerce developments might affect them.
“If you can’t transform yourself out of catalog and onto the Internet, you’re going to be out of business,” says Mike Muoio, president/CEO of gifts and home goods cataloger Lillian Vernon. “We as a group and industry have to face that. There will always be catalogs, but if you can’t transform yourself, you’re going to be faced with those cost increases [paper, postage and printing] and you’re simply not going to be economical to the customer.”
Increased Print Circulation
For most, Web marketing is all about creating a unified approach — Web and print working together as one. And despite this year’s postage increase, many catalogers contacted for this special report say they plan to increase the circulation of their printed catalog next year. “From a merchandising standpoint, the catalog is the biggest portion of what we do,” says Dievo Hagen, senior director of merchandising and inventory control at Sundance Catalog Co., a multichannel apparel and gifts cataloger. “And all that we put on the Web is driven by what we put in the catalog.” Less than 7 percent of Sundance’s entire marketing budget is spent on Web-related projects, yet the Web accounts for about half of the company’s revenue, Hagen says.