Catalog Cover Controversies, Part 1
This company's name and the fact that it shows shoes on its catalog covers clearly communicates the "shoes" part of who it is. FootSmart could have stopped there, but it wanted a more targeted message. Its tagline: "Expert Relief for Feet, Legs, Knees and Back." A glance at its catalog cover and you "get" exactly who FootSmart is and what it sells.
To answer the first two customer/prospect questions — "Who are you?" and "What do you sell?" — a famous brand just needs its logo. For not-so-well-known brands, a clear, descriptive brand name plus a clearly representative product on its cover can do the trick. However, if there's any uncertainly about total clarity, add a distinctive tagline to your cover for best clarity — and ultimately improved response.
Copy is what helps answer customers’ and prospects’ third question — "Why should I bother opening the cover and looking inside?"
Cover tests across a wide range of product categories have shown again and again that cover copy lifts response, sometimes dramatically (10 percent to 50 percent!). But what copy? Not gratuitous copy. You want copy with cover-opening benefits to the reader. What benefits get readers to open the catalog? Here are some examples:
New products: "OVER 180 NEW ITEMS INSIDE!" trumpets Vermont Country Store's spring catalog. Not necessarily an interesting message for prospects, but plenty exciting for customers.
Special offers: Norm Thompson's "SAVE on your FAVES" and "33-70% OFF" will be of big interest to customers. Great too as a way to get prospects inside to test your catalog at a low-risk price.
Where to read more about the cover product: CHEFS uses big, eye-grabbing copy to direct you to its new commercial-grade, six-quart mixer. The free shipping offer adds more excitement.
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.