Why Are Printed Catalogs Still Around?
Every month, dozens of catalogs show up in my mailbox. Among the ones I received recently: Macy’s, BCBG MaxAzria, National Geographic Gift Catalog, Sur La Table, Henri Bendel and Mrs. Fields.
Many people are surprised that catalogs even exist anymore. They can be expensive to create and mail, and the Internet was supposed to make catalogs obsolete. What happened? The answer turns out to be pretty simple.
For starters, people like printed catalogs, printed anything, really. According to marketing specialist and Forbes contributing writer, Lois Geller, a recent survey of magazine readers asked how they’d feel if a particular magazine became an online e-zine. There was a near revolt: 95% loudly preferred the printed version.
Printed material is tactile
Other than the task of turning pages, reading something printed is a passive activity. You don’t have to sit in front of a computer or type anything to search. You can hold a catalog in your hands, mark it up, put it down and pick it up again a day later. It can, and often does, stay in the house for weeks.
Even with most people on the Internet daily, catalogs are still mailing in the billions. The reason from the marketers’ perspective is the foundation of direct marketing: catalogs work! They more than pay for the costs of getting them into the hands of customers and prospects.
How people order from catalogs
Once upon a time there were only three ways to place a catalog order: mail, telephone, or visit the store. Now, catalog orders actually come via the Internet. People read the catalog, decide what they want, and then go online to place the order.
There is usually a spike on a company’s website when the printed catalogs are delivered. The evidence of this success is that catalog mailings go out more frequently right before the December holidays.
So what is the takeaway from this? Print is not dead. In fact, print is a vital part of a company’s marketing efforts