Why the catalog must be part of your
omnichannel marketing strategy
Create an emotional bond with consumers,
one catalog at a time
Times have changed. Consumers are constantly connected to their
smartphones and other devices. There are more smartphones on our
planet than people. Catalog marketing has changed to evolve with
this electronic demand. However, the fundamental goal of the catalog
has not changed: to provide consumers with a pleasant experience of
relevant and personalized content targeted to their needs to deliver a
one-to-one message to drive sales.
While the catalog has changed in size and scope, it is certainly not a
dead channel. Rather, it has become a modernized channel for brands
to connect with consumers. Within this ebook, we share the key
reasons why the catalog is essential to today’s successful omnichannel
marketing strategy. Whether it’s print or digital, the catalog provides a
compelling experience and it has proven results — it increases sales.
“Reading print text versus digital helps the brain to form mental
maps. Paper (print) speaks to your emotions.”*
It’s an effective channel to create
emotional connections that bond consumers
They provide a true all-encompassing tangible
experience that brings brands and products to
life as consumers flip through the pages. New
versions of product specific catalogs are created
based on customers’ interests.
The catalog is one of the most predictable and
consistent channels for ROI.
It has relevance and resonance across a
variety of industries, from retail to B2B to
Catalogs are a welcome relief from a screen.
An unassuming, noninvasive and a terrific tool to
keep your brand top of mind without inundating
your customers with information.
They have an extended shelf life and
complement all media strategies.
Benefits of the catalog:
Read on to learn more about the evolution of the catalog, why it’s more
relevant than ever today, and how to make it a driver of your customer
key omnichannel strategy
It all began in 1894 when Sears, Roebuck & Co.
launched its first catalog positioned as “The Book of Bargains: A Money
Saver for Everyone” (The Sears Big Book). It provided readers with an
experience, a form of entertainment, a way to fulfill their leisure time.…..
At the onset in 1894, key marketing strategies that are still
applicable today were applied to the production of the catalog:
• Personalization: The Sears team drafted all of the copy
within the catalog and drew on their personal experiences
using language and expressions that resonated with the
• Relevant Content: Included testimonials from customers.
New versions of product specific catalogs were created
based on customers’ interests.
• Multichannel: Included an invite within the catalog for
folks to come visit the Sears corporate office in Chicago.
This Big Book catalog was more than just a book filled with
items to purchase. It provided readers with an experience, a
form of entertainment, a way to fulfill their leisure time. It’s
today’s version of the American Girl Doll catalog. Girls within
the age group of 6 to 11 years old crave the experience of
flipping through this catalog, planning their next in-store visit
and deciding which doll and accessories are a must have. The
American Girl brand creates their own unique experience
Even at the onset of the catalog, today’s marketing
strategies were in play: personalization, relevant content
and multichannel.The difference - the strategies were not
implemented by technology, but the core principles and
fundamentals of marketing were implemented by the people.*
and help to create
a personality for
Just like today,
targeted based on
the direct result
*Sears Holdings Corporation
Sears along with many other retailers stopped the production of their ‘big
book catalog strategy’ in the early 1990’s and transitioned to a specialty
catalog focus to keep consistent with the retail trends. This shift marked the
transformation in the marketplace to specialty catalogs.
As a result of the transformation, the catalog has changed in size, scope
and medium. Look at the Williams Sonoma catalog. The shift from the ‘large,
all in one,’ catalog focus has changed. This specialty catalog has become
an educational book, inclusive of online recipes, decorating ideas and “how
to” instructions. The experience of the catalog has also changed. Now, on
coffee tables, there is a different ‘subset’ of catalogs.. They’re specialized in
categories – kitchen & bath, living room, outdoor spaces, seasonal holidays,
etc. These specialized catalogs allow for an element of personalization –
retailers choose which version of the book to send based on consumers’
interests and past purchase behavior. Additionally, recent studies have shown
that print helps to drive comprehension – it creates an impression in the
viewer’s mind driving a desire for them to want to make a purchase.
While the catalog has changed in scope, it remains a lively and active
channel across both print and digital. It’s become omnichannel and has
shifted to include digital e-catalogs that complement a print strategy and
drive consumers to shop both online and in store. For example, a well-known
retailer offering products that makes living luxurious with their indoor and
outdoor items does an excellent job with their digital, e-catalogs. They
categorize their online catalogs in an organized fashion making it easy
for consumers to locate the item of interest to them. Further, they offer
special discounts during the browsing stage.
The type of catalog is dependent on your customers’ preferences.
Marketers must understand channel preferences and push relevant and
personalized content within the preferred channel. But remember the
golden rule of marketing: content first, channel second.
Case in point:
Take chic furniture brand Z Gallerie. Z Gallerie released its
fall/winter catalog with brightly colored images that gave
shoppers a tangible and fun way to interact with the brand,
without being in stores. When they noticed that their catalogs
were getting a lot of attention on Instagram, the company
decided to launch the #PagesofStyle campaign to drive
more sales. This integrated user-generated content campaign
encouraged Z Gallerie catalog subscribers to share photos
on Instagram and tag them with #PagesofStyle. The campaign
even leveraged the catalog’s back cover to invite customers
to participate. As a further incentive, each month one winner
received a $250 Z Gallerie gift card.
Not only did the catalog bring the brand into people’s homes,
but also it created social buzz. One month into the campaign,
Z Gallerie saw a 25% increase in catalog sign-ups and a 16%
increase in branded user-generated content.*
How’s that for an increase in exposure?
When a catalog
mails, online sales
spike — both desktop
and mobile. A typical
cataloger will trace
to 25% of their orders
to a source code
on the front end
before a matchback.
*Direct Marketing News
Remember your objective
Your catalog creates the powerful emotional experiences with consumers that drive sales. Because catalogs stand
out in a world of technology, refine your creative strategy to maximize the emotional impact. Your catalog is your
story; make it your time to shine.
Evaluate your strategy
Catalogs can be used for new customer acquisition, customer retention, reactivation of lapsed customers, and cross-
sell and upsell. In addition, catalogs are a great tool for new product launches. If you have a current catalog strategy
in place, evaluate it. See if it’s meeting your goals.
Keep it targeted and simple
While your catalog tells a story, keep it targeted and simple. Make sure it is consistent with your brand experiences
across all channels. Don’t forget to add some personalization – a little can go a long way in this channel.
Create consistent, seamless brand experiences across channels
Your catalog is essential, but you have to drive a consistent seamless brand experience across channels. Think of
your catalog as a brand ambassador. It’s a reflection of your brand from the front cover to the back page. Catalogs
are the backbone of true customer experience. Leverage your offline creative across multiple channels to ensure a
seamless brand experience.
Bring your product to life
Finally, the experience of your product or brand begins with the catalog. The catalog creates an emotional connection
to your brand by tapping into all senses. It reflects your story and is an effective means of communication to drive
Whether it’s print or digital, the catalog provides a compelling experience and it has proven results.
So, as you’re reviewing your strategy, make sure the catalog has its right place within your omnichannel strategy and please let us know how we can help.
Our Epsilon team has expertise in data, merge purge, creative and more.
To learn more, please call 800 309 0505 or email us at email@example.com.
• 90+ million Americans
purchase from catalogs on an
annual basis with an average
spend of $850 million.
(American Catalog Mailers Association)
• Every $1 spent on print
generates an average of $12.57
(DMA) Direct Marketing
• When a print catalog
mails, online sales spike. A
typical cataloger will trace
approximately 25% of their
orders to a source code on the
front end before a matchback.