Over the last several years, we’ve seen catalogs come and go. And we’ve seen many retailers jump into the game, spend a LOT of money (we’re talking tens of millions of dollars) and then abandon the model after a couple of seasons. This literally breaks my heart and makes me want to scream! Why does this happen? Here is my very quick opinion. These brands have a combination of the following: 1. A flawed merchandise concept that is not unique, delivered with out-of-date benefits or sent to an audience the brand knows nothing about. 2. Bad math that doesn’t take into account mail efficiencies, an understanding of their own database, mailing to bad names at the wrong time or how the catalog model fits into a cross-channel world. 3. A lack of understanding of how to create a landscape of words and imagery that truly sell off the page and drive activity to either a website or store. I could go on, but those seem to be the top three. And, that’s all I’m going to say about it because I’d prefer to focus on WHY catalogs still work in this crazy, omni-channel world where new and shiny marketing tactics pop up every month.
Chris Hayes EVP, Brand Strategy
Google the word “Millennial” and you’ll likely see a collection of contradictory articles. For instance in the same month late last year CNBC wrote “Millennials to Blame for a Sluggish Economy” while MarketWatch wrote “We Need to Thank Millennials for a Booming Economy.”
OK… we get it. Millennials, the folks born between 1981 and 1997 are different from previous generations. They don’t buy like Boomers or Gen X. Their work style is different. They’re over-educated, under-employed, drowning in student debt and careful with their spending.
Marketers are already looking to Generation Z as the bright shiny object in the not-too-distant future. Their tastes and interests suggest a return to more traditional spending patterns.
But let’s not write off Millennials just yet. In 2019, Millennials accounted for over 73 million people in the U.S.. And while they may spend differently from previous generations, they absolutely do spend. More importantly, they are just now coming into their prime spending years.
Every new generation changes the marketing playbook. Our research has shown that there are five key traits that marketers can use to their advantage to not only engage, but remain engaged with this valuable group.Here are those five key traits.
Millennials support brands whose business practices reflect their principles. They are loyal to brands that not only align with relevant causes, but back up their message with action (e.g.TOMS, 4ocean and REI).
Millennials respond to personalized and customized customer experiences. This generation grew up with the notion that they were unique and special. Marketers must treat them as such with tailored experiences that separate their brand from the competition.
Millennials do spend. Many millennials believe that they will always be in debt, so spending on a great new pair of shoes really doesn’t concern them. They may never buy a house (or if they do, it’s in the distant future) but they can and do enjoy nice things.
Millennials demand value for their money. Brands that provide quality at a reasonable (not necessarily the least expensive price) are most successful. The price/value relationship is important and price is not always the driver when other considerations are addressed.
Millennials do their homework. They research online, they test products in stores and they look for reviews from peers before they purchase. They want and need lots of info to help them make their purchase decision.
And one cautionary Millennial trait to consider:
Millennials love to share. They take pictures, they blog, they post. A hot new product, a great experience… the word will spread like a geometric progression. Of course, a bad product experience can (and will) spread with equal if not greater speed.
If you think customer insights could help move your brand forward, we’d love to talk to you.