In today’s increasingly digital world, finding effective ways to connect with customers is trickier than ever. Instead of sinking even more money into digital marketing, you should consider returning to basics a bit through catalog marketing.
Catalogs have been a tried-and-true way to market products for more than 500 years, but their real heyday started with the introduction of the Sears catalog around the turn of the 20th century. As the internet rose to prominence in the 1990s, followed by the skyrocketing success of social media, businesses increasingly turned their marketing efforts toward the digital realm.
Today, there’s been a significant rebound effect. Businesses are increasingly devoting more of their marketing budgets to catalog printing projects – and they’re realizing incredible returns on their investments. What’s behind the reemergence of catalogs, though? Put simply, they provide exceptional psychological and financial benefits that push marketing to a new level.
Catalog Marketing Is Back
According to a study by the DMA, response rates from catalogs increased by 170% from 2003 to 2018. Interestingly enough, this roughly coincides with the emergence of social media and mobile device usage, which pulled people out of the real world and into the digital one. Could it be that people crave the old days of tangible marketing materials they could hold and feel?
10 Psychological Benefits That Make People Connect Better with Catalog Marketing
To understand why it pays to invest in catalog printing services, it helps to understand the positive psychological effects that arise when someone picks up a catalog. Here are 10 examples of how catalog marketing can help your business connect with customers on a deeper, more emotional level:
#1 Catalog Marketing Creates More Vivid Experiences – According to a study by Harvard Business Review, catalogs boost the “vividness” of a product, making it easier for customers to imagine using it. Something about holding a print catalog in your hands and perusing images of various products makes it hit home more. When product images are enhanced with descriptive content, consumers can almost live vicariously through catalogs, imagining how their lives would improve by investing in those products.
#2 Catalog Marketing Is Tangible – With people spending increasing amounts of time in the digital world, there’s a lot to be said about marketing materials that people can actually feel and hold. Catalog marketing is an effective way for strictly online businesses to connect physically with customers – even without brick-and-mortar establishments.
#3 Catalog Marketing Boosts Involvement and Joy – A neuroscience study found that people respond differently to physical pieces than digital ones. Physical pieces trigger activity in the ventral striatum, a part of the brain that corresponds with desirability and value, evoking feelings of positivity.
Therefore, when someone is holding your catalog and perusing your products, they’re apt to feel immersed in the experience and joyful about what your offerings can do for them. This positive association increases the odds of conversion.
#4 Catalog Marketing Is Valued More Than Digital Experiences – People are pummeled with digital messages via social media and email every day. These messages get lost in the shuffle and can be deleted with a button click. Amid this sea of digital noise, a print catalog stands out big-time.
When a person receives a catalog in the mail, they’re apt to feel like the company sending it is willing to invest in them more definitively – and that is great news for ambitious business owners like you.
#5 Catalog Marketing Is More Personal – Receiving physical mail feels personal, so it stands out when a catalog arrives at someone’s house. Browsing through a catalog in the comfort of home is an enjoyable experience accessible to just about anyone.
As they peruse your catalog, the recipient is apt to appreciate getting a break from the fast-paced modern world and will associate those feelings with your brand.
#6 Catalog Marketing Creates Indelible Memories – Most marketing messages people encounter each day are on the internet and social media. Hence, they are fleeting, and they all tend to blur together. With a catalog, however, someone must focus their attention longer.
Something about reading printed words and images from a page is more memorable than viewing ephemeral digital marketing messages. With catalog marketing, your message is more likely to stick in people’s minds, producing long-lasting positive impressions of your brand and products.
#7 Catalog Marketing Lasts – When a catalog shows up in the mail, it will almost certainly make its way into someone’s house. The catalog may be picked up again and again, producing constant reminders of your brand and products. Unlike digital marketing messages, no devices are needed to consume these materials.
They don’t just flicker on and off a screen; they stay on coffee tables and counters for days, essentially bringing your products into people’s homes.
#8 Catalog Marketing Has Greater Perceived Value – Whether accurate or not, people receive so many digital marketing messages that they’re likely to feel as if they’re a dime a dozen. It’s easy to assume that companies rely on digital marketing because of how affordable and easy it is.
Catalogs, on the other hand, require a greater investment. When someone receives a catalog, they perceive its value and associate that feeling with the brand behind it.
#9 Catalog Marketing Tells a Story – Flipping through a well-designed catalog is like going on a journey in your mind. People are naturally drawn to stories, and catalogs are ideal mediums for conveying them. By immersing readers with the story of your brand and products, you’re able to connect with them more effectively – and on a deeper emotional level.
#10 Catalog Marketing Bridges the Gap Between the Digital and Physical World – Finally, catalog marketing is a phenomenal way to enhance your omnichannel marketing efforts. Whether or not you have a brick-and-mortar store, catalogs bridge the divide between the physical and digital realms, allowing you to achieve a more robust marketing strategy while engaging with your target audience in new and exciting ways.
The Financial Perks of Catalog Marketing
Digital marketing is prized mainly for its affordability. However, it’s short-sighted to assume that direct mail marketing is too expensive. In reality, studies have shown that catalog marketing positively impacts sales, response rates, and inquiries.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, businesses that send catalogs experience a 49% increase in sales and a 125% increase in inquiries; email campaigns generate a 28% increase in sales and a 77% increase in inquiries.
As a bonus, marketing with catalogs effectively drives more traffic to websites, landing pages, and other digital properties. Therefore, it can bolster digital marketing efforts, making people aware of your brand’s online presence and bridging the digital and physical gap. More companies are becoming aware of the financial benefits of catalog marketing, including mainstays like Nordstrom and Crate + Barrel and traditionally online businesses like Amazon and Wayfair.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Catalog Printing Efforts
Before investing in catalog printing services, keep these tips in mind to get the best return on your investment:
Fill your catalogs with content that depicts other people’s experiences with your products. This approach creates a more personal experience, showing customers how people like them are improving their lives with your products. Supplement this written content with vibrant images to drive the message home.
Express your brand personality within your catalogs. Try to maintain the same “voice” that you use across your marketing efforts. Show customers that your company is more than just another voice in the hubbub of the internet by fleshing out its brand personality through well-written pieces within your catalogs.
Use limited-time promos to spur people to act. Although it’s nice that catalogs last and can remain in people’s homes for indefinite periods, it’s also crucial to prompt some sort of action. With that in mind, highlight a big sale on the catalog’s front page, or use the catalog to remind customers of upcoming specials. They can’t click a button to convert, of course, but the fear of missing out on amazing deals will prompt many of them to act, increasing response rates, inquiries and sales.
Include innovate features in your catalogs. For example, you might include scented materials to evoke stronger memories, or you could try textured paper to connect with customers on a more physical level.
Add a means to track conversions. After all, without knowing how many people found your brand through your catalogs, how can you tell how well your efforts are paying off? Common ways to track conversions through printed materials include unique URLs, personalized landing pages, unique promo codes, specialized response codes and QR codes.
Start Marketing with Catalogs Today
If you’re ready to discover the many amazing benefits of catalogs, Dazzle Printing is here to help. We offer a complete array of online self-publishing services, including catalog printing services customized to suit your needs.
Visit our online calculators to get an idea of how much your catalog will cost to print. And don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about your printing project.