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Are Holiday catalogs a marketing mainstay?

Published December 15, 2014 at 10:02 am


Digital media offer many opportunities for marketers, but ignoring the appeal of direct mail could be a costly mistake. Global management consultant firm Kurt Salmon recently featured an article on its blog about the enduring popularity of catalogs and how retailers in specific should acknowledge it.

Although the source cites information from the Direct Marketing Association that shows catalog numbers dropping in recent years, it also presents multiple cases of companies who still use catalogs to their advantage.

Sonoma Williams and FAO Schwartz both see a strong customer response to catalogs and work them into their marketing strategies. The latter has even developed a special method of driving up interest by sending out a “teaser” catalog in the run-up to its holiday issue. Last year, 11.8 billion catalogs were mailed in total.

An important part of managing this properly is connecting the physical catalog with something larger. For example, the post also noted that J. Crew has previewed its catalog offerings on the popular image-sharing site Pinterest.

A news story from Minnesota CBS affiliate WCCO spoke to David Brennan of the University of St. Thomas, who said that “Catalogs still work.” According to him, this medium has fans that aren’t going away any time soon.

“Some people are really comfortable with catalogs, some people are infirmed and have very little mobility, some people are very remote,” he said, referencing the possible audience for catalogs still ensuring their use.

The holiday season gives you more reason than ever to reconsider direct mailing solutions from the mindset of a connected, multichannel approach. Recipients have more options to respond to brands that have both a strong physical and online presence, and that way your business doesn’t risk losing either audience.

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