The catalog – long a staple of the direct marketing industry – has undergone a significant shift in the past several years. No longer simply a listing of products available, today’s catalogs are designed to engage, inspire and tell a brand story in ways that the JC Penney Big Book would have never dreamed.
“In a world where anybody can launch a website, the expertly crafted catalogue is highly valued by marketer and customer alike,” notes this slideshare from PrintPower, which outlines seven specific reasons to send printed catalogs.
Accessibility (reason #1) is a huge benefit – it’s that “brand-in-the-hand” availability that turns readers into online purchasers. Portable and designed for repeated use, they have a staying power that no amount of digital bookmarks can match. They also work great to provide extensive information (#2) about products, leading readers to become purchasers.
For brand building (#3) and traffic (#4) , they are almost magical at attracting attention and drawing people in. And with the growing trend of editorial content instead of simply product descriptions, the brand can weave a story around its products that inspires and sparks the imagination.
Technology has a role too, as cataloguers have become increasingly savvy about targeting (#5) with a wide range of variables.
The magic of catalogs is the way they combine the directness of relevant marketing with the immediacy of online shopping (#6), making both channels more effective (#7).