5 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Your Catalog Marketing Strategy (arandell.com)

You’ve got a catalog marketing strategy in place that runs like a well-oiled machine. You provide your print partner with the creative, you get your in-home date, your website sees that uptick in web traffic, and you see that spike in sales that’s always so satisfying.

As a catalog printer that’s been in business for nearly a century, we can tell you that this is how many long-time catalogers have run their programs. It’s not a bad thing, as consistency, repetition and reinforcement are what creates a brand.

However, that isn’t to say there isn’t room to improve – especially when you’re looking to stand out better in the mailbox. If you’re not ready to make those types of changes, there are other options that are easier and free-er.

Here are a few ways to improve your catalog marketing strategy that are quick, easy and painless:

  1. Allow Extra Time for Proper Planning
    This is a simple one that a lot of catalogers tend to miss. We know that in today’s streamlined world, many companies are running lean which means employees are wearing multiple hats on a daily basis.

This is even more reason to allow you and your team extra time to plan, develop and execute your catalog marketing strategy.

In projects of this size, things never go exactly how they were originally planned so making time to ensure all your ducks are in a row before launching is our #1 suggestion to any client looking to improve their current catalog program.

  1. Understand Postal Costs
    Postal costs are something that we all do not enjoy but must abide by. Especially for those who are newer to the print/mail industry, we highly recommend sitting down with your print partner in order to properly understand what your options are and what is all encompassed when it comes to postal costs.

Cost changes for the upcoming year are typically announced by the USPS towards the end of the previous year, as they did for the 2020 calendar year in October of 2019. Here at Arandell, we try and keep our customers as informed as possible when it comes to these changes but the best way to ensure you understand them is to schedule some time to sit down with your sales executive and/or customer service team.

Understanding postal costs is important to the success of your catalog marketing strategy so you have a better understanding of the ultimate cost that goes into your program and the ROI that comes with it. A proper understanding of postal costs also allows you to take advantage of the USPS’s postal promotions and discounts, which can end up saving you thousands.

  1. File Preparation
    Properly preparing creative files is another oft-overlooked piece to a catalog marketing strategy that can have huge impact on the end product. One example of properly preparing your creative files is in making sure that your files are done in CMYK color value rather than in RGB. In case you missed it, you can check out our recent blog post about CMYK vs. RGB as well.

The key to a successful finished product that matches expectations is in the conversion from RGB (digital) to CMYK (print). The CMYK color spectrum covers thousands of different colors and color variations which are what printing presses use. In our case, that would be our web offset presses. RGB represents millions of colors and is a subtractive processes where CMYK is additive.

Luckily, making the switch in your creative from RGB to CMYK is not too difficult or expensive. You really just need someone who is well-versed in the Adobe Suite (or a similar program) to make the switch. Here’s a great article that touches on a few ways to do so: https://www.labelvalue.com/blog/custom-label-information/custom-label-design/5-methods-for-converting-rgb-to-cmyk.html

  1. Paper Selection
    Your paper selection is another incremental change that can have monumental impact for your catalog marketing strategy. As you know by now, there is a plethora of options when it comes to selecting the stock you want to use in your catalog, but what’s most important is what will work best for your brand.

The most important question to ask yourself when deciding on the paper you’re going to use is, “what message am I trying to send?”

If environmental sustainability is something that helps to define your brand as it does for many of our outdoor retail clients, you may want to consider an uncoated stock with a percentage of the paper being from recycled sources. If you’re a high-end luxury brand whose products need to show precision and a high level of detail, you may want to consider a heavier coated stock that will help your creative shine. If you are trying to save money, then utilizing a lighter stock such as an SCA+ is a more economical option.

While choosing the right paper can be a crucial component to the ultimate success of your catalog, it’s something that doesn’t take too long and is easy to shift gears on in the early stages of development. We always encourage brands to look at samples and we even create dummy books so you have a better understanding of what the final product will look like with a paper change.

  1. There Are No Dumb Questions – Seriously
    You read it once, now read it again. THERE ARE NO DUMB QUESTIONS.

When it comes to launching a successful catalog marketing strategy, it is completely appropriate (and actually encouraged) to ask all the questions you need answered. When it comes to print, there are a lot of moving parts and it’s easy to get caught up in them all – especially if you are new to the industry.

At Arandell, our sales executives, customer service teams and production floor members love when they receive questions about the process because it allows them the opportunity to talk about something they care deeply about. Our team consists of a large group of craftsmen and craftswomen who treat every project as a master painter would their canvas.

Asking questions – even if you think they’re dumb – is a crucial part of the catalog development process that will only help your catalog program to improve in future projects.

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