Just Because They Buy it Online…

According to Brand United, there’s a bad tendency in the marketing world when it comes to e-commerce strategy.

“When marketers think e-commerce, they think digital,” a recent Brand United article starts. “But the data shows, when used together, print can greatly enhance digital campaigns and act as a response multiplier to boost digital efforts.”

No surprise here; we’ve been sharing stats on the value of print in the customer journey – especially catalogs and direct mail – in the online buying cycle. And clearly, the word is out among the big brands. Amazon is sending a toy catalog for the holidays, and Wayfair has been engaging buyers offline in print for a while now.

As Brand United notes, print helps kick-start the buying process, saying “While it’s true that buying activity continues to shift online, the nuance that is often missed by marketers in allocating marketing dollars is that print is often the catalyst for online research and buying activity.”

As Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi says, “The web is where we go to get answers, but print is where we go to ask questions.”

I love that quote, and it’s backed up by research that shows print helps break through the noise when you’re reaching out to online buyers. It’s no longer an either/or when it comes to marketing for e-commerce. In fact, Pulizzi is a fan of the new power couple.

“Yes, it’s true,” the Brand United article quotes Pulizzi. “Print and digital have a secret, special relationship. Those that can harness the power of print and Web integration will see magic happen. Step 1: Open your customers’ minds to possibilities … to opportunities in print. Questions arise. Step 2: Begin to answer those questions with specific, how-to Web content.”

For e-commerce brands, catalogs and direct mail give marketers an awesome opportunity to do just that. Because after all, just because they are going to buy it online, doesn’t mean they live there all the time. Print in the e-commerce funnel just works.