Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Print is Not Dead

Newspapers, magazines, brochures, and catalogs are not dead. It's true that cable television and the Internet has redirected millions of dollars away from traditional marketing, but there are very few times I can remember that the later have been totally abandoned.

Catalogs, especially, have come to mind recently with my home mailbox already becoming crowded with Christmas catalogs. From toys to clothing, to baskets of cheese, it's all there.

Many of our clients have catalogs since they've been with us for years and are used to doing business with a bundle of catalogs cradled under the arms of their sales force.

When approached with the question "Should we stop printing the catalog?", we like to test market a small section of the catalog online. More often than not, there will be some resistance from our clients' customers - "Why did you do that?", "Should I throw my catalog away?", and the ever-popular "Now I have to print out the catalog off of my printer."

I like to judge success by comparing the average sales order for both mediums during a certain time period. For our business-to-business customers, catalogs usually do better and the business-to-consumer customers find that online ordering is more popular. Are there exceptions? Absolutely. Test and test again to find out what works best for your business.

Most important, make sure your catalog is Internet compatible and vice-versa. When designing a new catalog, take advantage of the latest techniques that make catalog upload easy, and maybe interactive.

As the marketplace continues to change, customers are looking for the easiest way to buy. The question to ask yourself is this... "In my industry, are customers more apt to boot up the computer or thumb through a catalog to find how much my product costs?


lotusloq said...

Just stopping over from Nathan Bransford's blog, because I like reading your comments.

I personally prefer shopping online. I hate all the catalogs I get, and they mostly just go in the trash, so it seems a complete waste of money for those sending them, but I know there are a lot of people who buy from them or they'd never get sent.

Still, I wish that I wouldn't get the one a week I get from some companies especially if I searched and ordered from them online. If I want something from them I'll order online. I'm just sayin'...

lotusloq said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scott said...

Hi lotusloq...

Actually, I don't spend very much time here, but maybe I should! My colleague Dave Z. runs riot in these parts, and he does a great job. My blog can be found at www.scottStories.com if you're interested.

But while I'm here let me say that I see a lot of catalogs come through the mail at work and I tend to view them as a waste of paper. However, I do see people using them quite a bit–people of a certain age, I should point out–and I have to think that they're still cost effective for these companies.

Perhaps the time hasn't come yet for a switch in toto. I would feel better if they said that the paper used on them was recycled, though. :)

lotusloq said...

Here! Here! It would sure make me feel better if we weren't deforesting the planet to make catalogs that just go from the mailbox into the trash can. I'll have to check out your writing blog.

Scott said...

Heh, I read that as "defrosting" the planet. Which is another problem, but maybe we should stick to solving one at a time. :^D