All Hail the Return of Catalogs

Printed catalogs were at one time a mainstay of American brand marketing and culture. You could buy practically anything – way back when, you could order a complete house kit via catalog from Sears. Today, in the print world, we see a resurgence of catalogs to engage consumers, and it’s got us pretty excited.

Why now?

Catalogs making a comeback right now isn’t just a coincidence. Online shopping is great for its immediacy, but many people suffer from digital overload and miss the in-store retail experience. It’s the ability to slow down and absorb each page that engages customers — that is what brands want to from their marketing investment. Readers spend up to 30 minutes savoring the moment, and more importantly, they hold onto the catalog for several weeks as a reminder to visit the website or make a purchase.

Modern catalog design

Catalogs in 2021 are NOT your grandma’s hefty JCPenney Lookbook with its glossy cover, thin paper and grid styles. Today they are a worthy brand investment. Let your imagination run free while aiming to show the product in groups as well as individually. Vignettes of products portrayed flat or dimensionally are on-trend, inspiring readers with other items in like-color palettes or complementary use like fitness or comfort. Show real people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities doing real things. Authenticity resonates with customers.

Create a brand story

Introducing your brand to customers is not a slam dunk using digital marketing only. Videos are great but can be costly to produce. Catalogs offer the opportunity to tell your story in a more narrative style and in a way that resonates with your intended audience. Examples of brand storytelling include how your company came to be, how your first product was developed, what your most popular product is and why, or a great customer feedback comment. Showing your brand’s human side helps tie your company to the consumer, appeal to their emotional core, and register to them as more than just dollar signs.

Content + product = attention

If you want to turn that 30 minutes of your targeted reader’s time into 45 minutes or more, consider adding content that transforms your catalog into a magalog. It’s likely that your company already has the narrative needed to create a magalog. Interview your staff. Talk about how you manufacture products and where you source your materials. Know that one of your customers is a diehard fan – ask them why. Give tips and tricks for end-use. Tell a funny warranty story. The possibilities are endless once you get started brainstorming.

These ideas just begin to scratch the surface of modern catalog marketing, but B&B Print Source is ready to get to work. Let us help you design, print, and mail your next catalog project.