More Australians read catalogues than metropolitan newspapers, according to research published today.
A study by Roy Morgan Research has found almost 10.5 million Australians read one or more catalogues during an average week.
While more Aussies are picking up catalogues than in recent years, readership figures are not as high as they were in 2011 at more than 11 million people.
Kellie Northwood, executive director of the Australian Catalogue Association, told SmartCompany the recent jump in readership figures can be attributed to businesses becoming smarter with who they target with print advertising.
“The catalogue industry has evolved in that it has become much more targeted than ever before,” Northwood says.
“Ten to 15 years ago you’d have one catalogue for the country. Now, you have multiple streams of catalogues produced for multiple markets. That’s the strength of data. The success of the readership of catalogues – and certainly readership growth – is not surprising for the ACA as we have been watching this trend in readership stats improve over the past 12 to 18 months.”
Northwood says catalogues have “come back in vogue” because they allow retailers to have longer conversations with consumers in comparison to a 30-second grab on TV.
An increasing number of Australian businesses are producing catalogues that look and smell like a magazine.
Retailers such as David Jones produce “look-books” to show customers what the latest fashion trends are, while bookseller Readings publishes an annual Summer Reading Guide.
“If you have really good content in your catalogue, customers will read it for longer and spend more time with your brand,” Northwood says.
“It’s not just the fashion guys doing it… people like Dan Murphy’s are kicking goals in this area with product guides on champagne or how to create great beers.”
Here are Norwood’s three tips for business owners wanting to get the most out of advertising through catalogues.
1. Understand your target market
Norwood says gone are the days of sending out catalogues without thinking about which households you should target.
“Understand your market and where your market is,” she says.
“So for small or local businesses, doing a local distribution is really effective. I think the greatest technology available to small and local businesses is using data. Invest in who you’re distributing to instead of blanketing everyone and wondering why no one is getting in touch.”
2. Treat the catalogue like a book or magazine
An increasing number of businesses are producing magazine-like catalogues, according to Norwood.
She says businesses need to make sure their catalogue represents who they are as a brand.
“One of the trends we’ve noticed is that the time of using stock photos or standard overseas and imported creatives has gone,” Norwood says.
“Catalogues are very much about localised photography and are much more focused on the Australian market than ever before. You need to think about the branding – what are your colours, what is the paper stock. If it’s a local family-run business then talk about your family. These sorts of things are important.”
3. Fill them with interesting content
Norwood says the key to snaring as many potential customers as possible is to make sure your catalogue is filled with interesting content.
A big logo that says 50% off isn’t going to cut it these days.
“People will read and spend a longer period of time reading information that is interesting,” she says.
“Content-rich catalogues is an absolute trend… it’s getting richer and richer. If you have really good content in a catalogue, customers will read it for longer and spend more time with your brand.”