Why Catalogs Rule (And How You Should Prove Me Wrong)
Before my official post for the week starts, let me thank all of you who added your comments to this site, as well as those who e-mailed me privately. Your encouragement and feedback was much appreciated, and it’s nice to get the first Catalog Success blog off to a good start.
Now, I want more. Please go to the “submit a comment” link and tell me what you’d like to see this blog become.
Go ahead, do it right now … I’ll wait.
Great, you’re back … O.K., now on to this week’s topics: 1) my own goals for this blog, and 2) my response to a question from someone who identified herself as Renee about the Internet’s boom causing catalog circulation and marketing to shrink.
Every Tuesday I’ll post a major article. Throughout the week, I’ll likely post answers to questions and responses to comments.
If you don’t agree with something I say, feel free to challenge me to a duel. We can be as controversial as we want here, so don’t hold back. You can also post comments regarding other people’s comments if you like.
I want this blog to be about you, your business and how to grow your business. So the more input I receive, the better this forum becomes.
Why Catalogs Rule
So Renee commented that paper catalogs are going the way of the dinosaur. I really doubt that will happen anytime soon. Catalogs are still king. While half of the orders a typical multichannel company receives these days are Internet-generated, the key is to determine the origin of the buyer. You want to know this because the Internet is both a marketing and an order processing channel. In a multichannel company, if you do a matchback analysis, you’ll likely see that many of your Internet orders have been driven by your catalog mailings.
Beyond that, people love the tactile feel of thumbing through a catalog. People love to receive their favorite catalog, and read it as editorial. In fact, generally catalogs aren’t seen as junk mail like many of the solo mailers you receive. They have more credibility and legitimacy.
Catalogs and Internet Marketing: The Strategic Differences
More importantly, catalogs are strategically different than Internet marketing because they employ a push strategy, driving a reader to take action; many times on impulse. The Internet’s biggest form of marketing these days, search engine marketing, is a pull strategy designed to pull people searching to your Web site.
Affinity and Metrics
As long as there are lists out there that have an affinity to your products, and/or co-op databases that can clone a company’s best customers and find “like” prospects, print cataloging will stay in business. Plus, stats show that shoppers who spend time using all of your channels will spend more money with your company, be more brand loyal and generate higher lifetime value.
Nevertheless, some companies have cut back their circulation, put that money into the Internet and lived to regret it, while some haven’t. Cutting circ had an opposite effect on their revenue generation.
What has been your experience with the Internet and your catalog? Fire back a response to me by clicking the link below.
Next week: I’ll lay out my must-have core competencies for cataloging.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.