Learn From Your Competitors to Keep Ahead
After a second round of research, it found that its catalog and its competitors’ catalogs looked and sounded so much alike that many customers never realized there were five catalog brands instead of just one. The home goods brand did this by laying out all five catalogs in a row in front of the customers!
As a result, that cataloger did a brand review. It developed a new story, motto, look and voice unique to its brand. In a head-to-head test, the new catalog beat the old control roundly, gaining sales, market share and brand loyalty.
What if Your Catalog is the One Being Copied?
If you're the market leader, your competitors are studying your catalog. Some will hope they can steal some market share by replicating your look. How can you stay a step ahead? Focus on your customer.
What do you deliver that's a bigger benefit to your customers than what your competition delivers? Quality? Breadth of products? Price? Shipping? Service? Expertise? Exclusive products? Trend-setter? More fun to shop with? Any combination unique to you?
Ultimately, customer benefits are what it's all about. What makes your brand best for your customers needs to be woven throughout all your editorial, product copy, page heads, design and photography. First, define what makes you the best at XYZ. Second, define how to make it clear to your customer. It's not just about design differences. If you can make a true case for how you're different and why that's good for your customers, that's what no competitor can copy.
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.