Why DTC Brands are Loving Catalogs Again

Credit: Micheile Henderson via UnSplash

Call it B2C or DTC, direct to consumer marketing is back in print with gusto.

“While catalogs might seem to be dated and expensive, the reality is there has been a huge resurgence in direct mail because it can be a very effective marketing channel for retail brands,” writes Trevor Testwuide in Retail Dive. “Digitally native DTC brands are turning to catalogs to play a vital role in their growth beyond Facebook and Instagram.”

Testwuide gives a number of reasons why catalogs are thriving in the digital age, starting with data.

“Data drives every well-run marketing organizations and the DNA of catalog fits right in. Like digital, [the] catalog is an addressable channel with one-to-one targeting and measurement capabilities,” he writes.

A second reason comes down to the immediacy of reporting and feedback.

“Catalog data has always been rich in insights, but it has historically been slow to report,” he continues. “Waiting the standard 30 to 45 days for catalog match-back reporting is no longer required. Today, it is available daily. DTC marketers now have precise and timely catalog measurements aligned to the reporting cadence of digital.”

That kind of speed is essential as marketing campaigns are tweaked in real-time. And with Facebook and Instagram absolutely saturated with ads … which most consumers are ignoring anyway … brands need to find new channels to reach their audience.

“I am not suggesting catalog is a replacement for social. In fact, the two can complement each other well and be stronger when used in tandem,” Testwuide continues.

“We have seen recent evidence that, when used together, there was a 10% accretive lift in response rate on Catalog + Facebook executions compared to the control group.”

For marketers, test-and-learn practices are part of the culture. This makes print not only feasible but an important measuring stick. And printing tech means smaller runs, influenced by customer data, make reaching your audience more likely without massive expense.

Catalogs are here and influencing digital marketers in new ways. The DTC path is not digital alone, and catalog mailers are realizing the value of reaching out in print.