The Art of Lingering

Porter-Couch-ReadingMargie Dana is an unabashed catalog fan, and admits to lingering over the pages of her favorites.

“I love catalogs. I love good catalogs. I love beautifully printed and designed catalogs. I particularly love catalogs that deliver more,” the marketing writer explains in her blog post “Print Lets You Linger.”

Dana notes that print catalogs are resurging, thanks in large part to the fact that catalogs are getting better…better quality, better content, better at creating a space in which customers want to linger.

“Some 20 years ago I recall getting Williams-Sonoma catalogs and marveling at how smart the retailer was: Alongside certain product pictures were full-blown recipes,” she says. “Just brilliant! By showing us what we could create using their kitchenware, the company was hoping we’d hang on to those catalogs. I did.”

She also recently kept the new Patagonia catalog, tucking it away for her son.

“My son wears Patagonia clothing, and typically I save their catalogs for him. Since he’s away at college, I put it aside for his next visit home, but I sat down with it because the cover captured my attention, and frankly, I loved the feel of the paper,” she continues.

“When I read through this catalog, page by page, I had the same ‘wow-these-people-are-smart’ reaction as I did all those years ago with the Williams-Sonoma catalog,” she says.

What’s so smart about Patagonia, Williams-Sonoma and others of their ilk is their use of the catalog as a lifestyle enabler, not a product listing. From the choice of paper (100% post-consumer recycled) to the content (heavy on environmental preservation), Patagonia has clearly tapped into the prevailing attitudes of its customers.

“The Patagonia catalog paper feels good in your hands – just like, or so I’m told, the company’s clothing feels good on your skin. Coincidence? I think not,” she states.

It’s this kind of approach to cataloging that is fueling the change in this industry and once again making catalogs a marketing must-have in an omni-channel retail strategy.