Print Catalogs in the Digital World: Why Are They Still Popular?

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The answer is simple – because they work! We can understand why some people may think catalogs are a dead form of marketing in the digital age. But you’d be surprised to know that 92% of young shoppers say that they prefer direct mail for making purchase decisions. In fact, direct mail pieces are a driving force behind sales for many companies including promotional item sellers.

So, what is the reason behind the success of catalogs and why are companies still using them?

Print Catalogs Are Tactile Marketing Tools

Unlike other forms of advertising, you can touch, feel, hold, and pin a mailed catalog. Catalogs are designed to be a tangible way to connect with your target audience and grow your brand. 45% of Americans say that catalogs make them interested in a company’s products. Even if a person receives dozens of catalogs in a week, he/she is likely to have a glance at them before throwing them away.

While e-mail marketing is an excellent marketing strategy, your target audience is more likely to view your product catalog than an e-mail. A Boden (a British clothing retailer) says customers spend an average of 15-20 minutes with their catalog compared to 8 seconds with their e-mail. It’s a no-brainer why close to 90% of recipients have bought an item after seeing it in a catalog first!


“Almost 90% of recipients have bought an item after seeing it in the catalog first!”


Print Catalogs Have a Super-Effective Reach

You can send highly targeted catalogs, as massive industry databases contain all kinds of information about millions of American households. In addition, you can amass your own set of customer information from ever increasing online retail sales. This will augment bulk databases and improve your results. This laser-focused targeting ensures that the right catalog reaches the right hands.

Moreover, clearly measuring the success of television and newspaper advertisements is tricky. On the other hand, catalogs have mail dates and source codes, which help you track how well your catalog is performing. E-mailers can end up in the customer’s spam folder or go unnoticed in a crowded inbox. But, as mentioned earlier, a print catalog is much more likely to be seen by your target audience.


“Laser-focused targeting ensures that the right catalog will reach the right hands.”


Print Catalogs Deliver an Impressive ROI

Every year, approximately 167 million Americans order something from a catalog. On average, catalog shoppers place about 11 orders a year resulting in revenue of $150 million. Print catalogs drive sales by up to 29% and increase traffic to your website.

Many companies can even attribute 59% of their web sales to their catalogs. They also help you increase the number of channels through which you can reach customers. Customers who engage with your brand on multiple channels are likely to spend more on your brand.


“On average, catalog shoppers place about 11 orders a year resulting in a revenue of $150 million.”


Catalogs may seem old school, but with their exceptional performance and utility, they are here to stay. We use print catalogs every day to sell our promotional items and you should use them for your business too. If you’d like to receive a free Promo Direct catalog, you can send us a catalog request and obtain access to special promotional offers and discounts.

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Jayden Samuelson
Jayden Samuelson is an online marketing manager at Promo Direct. He is responsible for strategizing and executing all SEO and digital marketing plans for the company’s website. He is also a regular contributor to Promo Direct blog and several other sites. You can follow Jayden on Google+, Twitter and Facebook