Catalogues maintain strong position in the advertising space, new research reveals

Australian retailers may be spending more on online marketing, but a new report suggests traditional printed catalogues are here to stay.

The 2012-13 Annual Catalogue Industry Report from the Australian Catalogue Association released earlier this week, the first report of its kind for the industry, indicates retailers increased catalogue promotions during the global financial crisis in 2007/2008, and this trend continued into 2011.

In 2008, catalogue distribution grew to reach more than 17.8 million Australians each week and in the 2011-12 financial year 18.25 million Australians were reached each week.

The report brings together research from different sources into the catalogue industry including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Address Reference File and AMP Capital.

Potentially contributing to the boost in catalogue production over the past five years, the cost of catalogue printing was found to have reduced by 19% in the same timeframe.

Research from AMP Capital’s 2012 Shopping Intent Report recently showed 37% of respondents ranked catalogues as the most influential channel, compared to television, search engines, retailer websites, email alerts, product review websites and manufacturers’ websites.

Even among younger people, 28% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 30% of 25 to 34-year-olds nominated catalogues as the most influential.

Australian Catalogue Association executive director Kellie Northwood told SmartCompany retailers get the highest return of investment when a catalogue is used as part of a multi-channel approach.

“I see catalogues as the foundation of this multichannel world. There is no noise and it’s a one-to-one dialogue with the customers within their comfort.

“Integrated campaigns deliver a much higher ROI. We’ve referenced various studies, but generally when you add channels they’re more effective. For example, when combined with TV advertisements it’s 37% more effective, and when online is used, they’re 62% more effective,” she says.

Northwood says catalogues are the “foundation piece” of the multichannel approach and the idea catalogues are “dead” is an “old-fashioned” myth.

“Retailers should use the catalogues as the foundation and leverage from that.”

“When you analyse catalogues against other channels, they are the fourth largest channel to market. There have been increases in growth in the past 5 years, while other channels are in decline our resilience remains,” she says.

Northwood says to capitalise on the effectiveness of catalogues, businesses should ensure they contain “a strong call to action, clear messaging and keep the catalogue production and design reflective of the brand”.

Grocery and discount variety stores use catalogues the most, according to the report, but creative director at marketing and design agency Roundhouse Creative Saul Edmonds told SmartCompany when used effectively, catalogues can deliver fashion retailers strong results.

“Catalogues allow retailers to have something which is nicely designed and has a sense of useability. They allow someone to get a sense of the core brand and their important in re-enforcing the brand identity.

Edmonds says if designed well, some people will also be inclined to keep the catalogues of fashion brands and display them on their shelves, contributing to the long-term value of the marketing investment.

“In terms of catalogue design, it can be a good strategy to make the design appeal to a high-end fashion sensibility, even if it’s a sports brand for example, since broadly speaking people will then be more likely to keep it if it’s of a high-quality, or it’s like a book.”



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