Catalog Cover Controversies, Part 2
In part one of this series last month, I examined controversies about having a company tagline as well as whether to have extra copy on your catalog cover. Today I'll look at three other cover issues that get lots of debate. They all revolve around the following question: What type of cover is most likely get the catalog opened and deliver high response?
Sell Directly From the Cover?
Selling directly from the cover means you have the product photo, full product copy, item number and price right on the cover. That is, just like you show products inside the catalog.
This cover style is used often by "value" catalog brands — and it works very well for them. I've seen tests where selling directly from the cover significantly lifts catalog response vs. just a photo of the same product (and vs. other types of covers as well).
However, what if your brand is "upscale," not "value"? Can an upscale catalog successfully sell from the cover? Upscale catalogers tend to reject the concept as too downscale, but it would be a great test. Theoretically, a product could be sold from the front cover with just as much style and elegance as is done inside the catalog. If you have the pluck, give that test a try (and tell me how it did). If your team is conservative, stick to traditional upscale cover styles.
Show Single or Multiple Products On the Cover?
If you mail frequently, it's important to keep each cover looking fresh to motivate customers to open and look inside each catalog. An effective way to differentiate the look is to vary the number of products featured on the cover from book to book.
A great close-up of a single product can be dramatic and eye catching. Multiple products can be eye catching too, and there are several ways to show them:
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.