Rising ROI for Catalog Mailers Means Happier Holidays

Could the creepiness of hyper-personalized digital advertising be behind the rise in effectiveness of direct mail? Or maybe it’s the longing for something tangible that makes us read, and respond to, our print mail?

Either way, it’s clear that mail catalogs are in the midst of a renaissance, notes this post in Quick Pivot. 

“Mail catalogs were once bastions of the pre-digital, brick-and-mortar retail marketing world (think Sears and Toys ‘R Us), and after a lull period it seems they’re once again, back in style,” the article notes. “In fact, there are now scores of websites dedicated to helping consumers sign up to receive mail catalogs (seriously, search ‘free retail catalogs’ in Google sometime), which explains why savvy multichannel retailers – including QuickPivot clients Annie Selke, Allen Edmonds, MacKenzie-Childs, and Orvis – have made them key components in their cross-channel strategies.”

The stats are clear: Customers (and in particular the Millennial age group) love catalogs, and they buy more from a brand when they receive one. 

The Quick Pivot article includes a write-up of Harvard Business Review research that found catalog mailings, sent in conjunction with email campaigns, saw a significant boost over email or catalogs alone. 

“There is one clear and obvious takeaway from the HBR experiment: mail catalogs are extremely effective at capturing the attention of modern consumers and translating that attention into increased sales and engagements,” the article notes. “HBR’s finding, combined with the success that’s been seen by QuickPivot’s retail users and the recent documented increase in the popularity of catalogs, makes us comfortable concluding that mail catalogs are once again, and will continue to be, viable marketing tools for retailers.”

While those HRB stats are from two years ago, the case for mailing to your customers this year is even clearer.

With mail volume down overall, marketers are reporting less competition and higher response rates with their direct mail and catalog campaigns. As more people stay (and shop) at home, each direct mail piece is being seen by more people in the household, and consumer catalog businesses are welcoming a significant increase in response,

So go open that mailbox and get inspired by a good catalog or two this holiday season. (I’ve already got mine from Mackenzie Childs, King Arthur Flour, and a few other faves. They’ve definitely prompted me to make some purchases and add a few goodies to my wish list.)

Catalogs and direct mail are a vital part of the modern retail experience; don’t overlook their power in your marketing plans. It’s not too late to get something in the mail this year.