It’s no longer accurate to say that readers are moving toward a digital preference to receive their content. Readers aren’t moving that way, they’re already there. In a world controlled by information consumed online, one thing remains true: people engage through stories. While many marketing mediums prove successful, it’s the age old wonder of the traditional catalog that remains king. Catalogs offer the intrigue of a story, the convenience of a flip-book and the connection to a brand that’s often lost in other marketing tools. Here are 7 reasons why catalogs still dominate the marketing industry.
- Tell A Story
One of the main differences between a catalog and other forms of hard-copy marketing is that they tell the story of a product. Through photos, tag lines and even history of a product, consumers can obtain enormous amounts of information from a single page. These stories help consumers connect with a product or brand on an emotional level and can inspire action.
- Influence Purchase Decisions
Here’s a couple interesting statistics: according to a recent survey by the USPS, 72% of people say that catalogs make them more interested in a retailer’s products, and 84% have purchased an item after seeing it in a catalog. A large reason for this is because direct mail is active – it’s concrete and tangible. Unlike digital ads, which are often scrolled over, catalogs demand action by the recipient.
- Science – Neuroscience to be Exact
A recent study from Temple University consumer neuroscience researchers found significant differences in the way our brains process digital services and direct mail. Among their findings, while digital ads are processed faster, consumers engage with paper ads for a longer period of time, and the physical ads often cause more activity in parts of the brain associated with value and desire. Moreover, the study showed that physical ads cause greater activation of the ventral striatum – the brain structure whose activity is most predictive of future purchasing.
- Connection Between Digital & Physical Worlds
Consumers react well to catalogs. They enjoy engaging with the story of the product and appreciate the convenience of being able to flip through pages until something catches their eye. However, ordering a product may prove slightly more challenging as you have to call a number and, yes, actually speak to someone. Catalogs can bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds by showing customers how they can make purchases online. This also brings consumers to a company’s webpage and ensure maximum exposure to their products.
- Convenience and Relaxation
Lightweight, easy to flip through and picture-heavy – the catalog is an extremely convenient way to expose consumers to products. Actually, 63% of people say that they find it easier to browse through products in a catalog, rather than online or in a store. This convenience translates to a relaxation feature for consumers as well. The storytelling ability and ease-of-use offer a way for consumers to engage with products in a relaxing setting without too much distraction or sales pitches.
- Reach and Re-engage
With a 70% opening rate, catalogs continue to dominate among the marketing tools employed through direct mail. By sending out catalogs, companies can reach a mass amount of people, and once inside, consumers feel a sense of personal connection with the products that cannot be duplicated online. Companies can also reach new customers by sending out catalogs, and re-engage with existing customers by creating a follow-up mailing after an initial purchase.
- Everyone Likes Getting Something in the Mail. Right?
Although logic may dictate that as we move into a digital world more people want to separate from physical mail, studies show that actually isn’t the case—especially with millennials. Largely this is because “millennials are inundated with digital media. Physical mail stands out in millennials’ otherwise electronic world. This generation is also geared toward visual content, and direct mail caters to the physical senses.” Plus, who doesn’t like getting mail?
In our current society dominated by digital content, the direct mail catalog is still the marketing king. By utilizing the strengths of the catalog, companies can ensure consumers are exposed to their product through a medium they enjoy, but also point them to their online presence. The catalog offers the best of both worlds to create inspiration and engagement that will increase a company’s bottom line.