The holiday season is the time for nostalgia and tradition, and that is the case here at PYMNTS, where even amid our coverage of the newest retail trends, we sometimes get the warm-and-fuzzies. It led us to wonder, going into the heart of the fourth quarter and then into 2020, about the status of that old standby, the retail catalog. Those old-fashioned methods of selling might have more life in the eCommerce age than many assume – thanks in large part, according to experts, to younger consumers’ desire for non-digital shopping experiences and the need for retailers to stand out from the pack. Whatever the reasons, catalogs have seen renewed life in this digital age, and will probably be a source of some innovation going forward into the new decade.
Minneapolis-based Impact has acquired Plymouth, Minn.-based Infinity Direct in a strategic collaboration combining the talents and capabilities of two Twin Cities direct marketing companies. The collaboration allows key visionaries in direct marketing to grow the data analytics, multichannel direct marketing, fulfillment, and campaign management sides of both businesses. “Finding another agency that shares our values and passion was incredible. Together we will have a complete direct response offering. We look forward to integrating the agencies to provide additional value and strategic guidance to our clients,” says Chief Executive Officer Jake Bruhnding.
The final push of the Holiday season is quickly approaching! Can you believe that Thanksgiving just under a week away?! By now, most of your Holiday catalogs are already at the printer and on their way to mailboxes, but that doesn’t mean you should be sitting back and waiting for the orders to roll in. For many retailers, this is the most significant time of year. Making sure that your channels are firing on all cylinders is essential in having a stellar season. In this article, I’ll provide my top 10 strategies that will help you cross the finish line this holiday season. Black Friday Arrives Early: 2. Consistency Across All Marketing Channels: 3. Promotions Are in Sync:
The new IKEA print catalogue is hitting the stores this week, and with its fresh evidence for the huge value brands place on paper. But it’s not just the Swedish furniture giant that’s putting its trust in print. The first couple of weeks of September is a momentous time in the lives of millions of homeowners around the world. Whether they want to completely redesign their homes, installing new kitchens or bathrooms, or just want a few extra bits of storage, early September marks a new beginning thanks to the arrival of the print version of the world’s most popular catalogue. The moment the IKEA print catalogue drops in the furniture brand’s 424 stores across the world marks an annual triumph for print. You should know the figures by now: 180 million copies, 283 pages, 72 different versions, 29 different languages. IKEA understand that the catalogue is their single most important piece of marketing – that’s why they devote 70% of their marketing budget to it.
Most brands today understand they must deliver a complete 360-degree customer experience, with all marketing efforts aligned and working in concert. Yet, they’re often surprised that they’re still not connecting on a deep level with their customers. What’s missing? Some brands have a certain something—an emotional appeal. They connect. They feel more HUMAN. Watch this high-energy keynote session to find out why they do, and how to take the human approach to building brands.
Okay, we can agree that marketing an easier solution for almost anything is a path to success, yes? Now, let’s apply that theory to HOW we market. Here’s a big mystery for me: why do so many brands, even big ones, make their websites so difficult to engage? The research is clear about the consumer’s desire for a simple and easy experience, so why do brands ignore that crucial data? I have a theory that in many retail organizations IT, merchants and execs hijack the website. It becomes the wall that the spaghetti is thrown on. Maybe because it’s perceived to have endless real estate? I’m not sure, but the result is often a website by committee, and we all know the pitfalls of that. I suspect the copy and design experts who understand the merits of keeping things simple often have little influence on what the consumer actually experiences. I suggest getting the committee and the hijackers to agree to these five tactics proven to enhance user experience and drive higher conversion.
Amazon’s second annual toy catalog has been dropping this week across the U.S. The differences and similarities in this year’s edition tell us something about Amazon’s goals in this category, but also shows just how much data Amazon has at its fingertips to help drive shopper demand. The products have no prices, just “Scan & Shop” QR codes linking back to the online page. This is the same as last year’s edition. Since Amazon reprices items on its site millions of times per day, it’s impossible to advertise a set price for each item. This nifty workaround not only ensures customers don’t see a price that Amazon can’t hold, but it draws shoppers back to the site immediately.
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.
In the last blog post written by my colleague, Michelle Houston, she demonstrated the symbiotic relationship that postal retargeting shares with digital marketing. She also articulated why it’s vitally important to integrate postal retargeting into the marketing mix. I couldn’t agree more. I wanted to continue on that thread of print being a digital champion by covering some other areas where digital programs, as well as companies’ performance, benefits from a robust print program. Frequently in our client engagements, we uncover “turf wars” that exist between siloed marketing groups who fight for their share of the budget to run somewhat independent programs. Here’s how it typically breaks down: •The digital team is interested in driving performance online; •The retail team is interested in driving in-store sales; •The print team is just trying to survive since there is no real “print” channel.
•Chief marketing officers need to be more mindful of consumer privacy as they develop marketing strategies to personalize brand experiences, consulting firm Accenture recommends in a new report shared with Marketing Dive. Most consumers (69%) said they wouldn't do business with a brand if its data usage was invasive, based on a survey of 8,000 consumers. •Consumers want to know more about how brands are using personal data. The portion of consumers who said they're willing to share more when brands are transparent rose to 73% this year from 66% in 2018, the survey found. Among consumers who said they had received invasive marketing messages, 71% said it was because a brand had information about them of their family that they didn't share directly.