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Catalogs Are Making A Comeback


stack-of-catalogsThe arrival of 4 catalogs in one day’s mail brought us to that rather unscientific conclusion – catalogs are coming back.

In the mail were glossy well-produced catalogs from Frontgate, REI, ULINE and Chefwear. The last one clearly represents the challenge of catalogs – list rental. None of us at Thought-Tech are chef’s, work in restaurant business or own a stake in food service. So the folks at Chefwear may have spent good money on sending their catalog to an address that will not produce revenue. Or did they introduce their brand to someone who’d never heard of Chefwear before.

Right now it looks like both.

Chefwear, in Addison, Illinois, has a complete line pants, jackets, shirts, footwear, headwear – all for the stylish chef. Some of their product is downright good-looking.

But back to catalogs. In today’s omnichannel world there may be a place for catalogs. Consumer Reports estimates we are exposed to around 250 marketing messages daily. This number is bit more realistic that the 2,500 to 3,000 messages tossed around by those who believe walking down an aisle in a grocery store exposes us to hundreds of marketing messages. We don’t buy it.

We do believe taking a digital only approach to marketing is short-sighted. Catalogs can trigger a reminder to go to a website, read a blog or check the brand’s Facebook page.

The catalog side of sales and marketing took it hard beginning in 2007 and into 2008. Catalogs are making a comeback and the global mail order business is projected to reach $835 billion in 2015. That’s some serious coin.

Marketing to an audience that’s overexposed to branding messages is a challenge. Ignoring a proven winner like catalogs is a mistake.

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