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5 Reasons Why Catalogs Are on the Rise

If your company hasn’t ever considered incorporating catalogs into your omnichannel marketing efforts, it might be time to start. 85% of marketers understand the benefits, which is why they plan to maintain or increase their circulation. In our digitally-saturated world, catalogs have the power to hold attention and foster engaging relationships between your company and consumers. Consider these 5 key reasons as to why brands continue to benefit from catalogs in 2018 – and how yours can, too.


Gone are the days of mailing catalogs to the masses. Recently, the Data & Marketing Association reported a 4.5% decrease in catalog distribution. Despite this decrease, there has been a 23% increase in response rates. Brands aren’t stepping away from the medium, but are stepping up their targeting game.

Thanks to the goldmine of data available on consumers, companies no longer have to rely on simple, demographic data to determine look-alike consumers. Psychographic information makes it possible to single out those with similar interests, lifestyles, and purchasing behaviors to current consumers. The accessibility of first, second, and third-party data allows marketers to easily send focused, highly-personalized and relevant messages to consumers. That’s why a staggering 88% of marketers surveyed reported that they use data from third-parties to enhance their understanding of their consumer.

And yes, data pays off. Studies show that when retailers target only key customers during their peak periods, they can improve efficiency by 10-50%, which can translate to a return between $3 and $9 for every $1 spent. It’s why data-driven campaigns are so effective.



There is something to be said about being able to engage with a brand physically. Catalogs offer a tactile experience that can’t be replicated by online shopping. Neuro-haptic research conducted by SAPPI details the importance of how the things consumers touch shape the way they feel. The intimate connection of print assists the brain in processes like retaining knowledge. In fact, when it comes to physical mediums, studies show that a consumer’s ability to recall information is 70% higher than that of digital formats.

What’s more, print also establishes trust. A recent study shows 56% of consumers agree that print marketing is the most trustworthy type of marketing.


Myths about millennials’ adversity to direct mail in favor of screen time has caused marketers to shift their approach digitally. In doing so, their brand’s physicality has dwindled, and their omnichannel campaigns have shrunk. But we’re here with good news.

According to millennials, catalogs are in. A recent study found that 54% of millennials look forward to receiving catalogs, which according to USPS, can hold their attention for an average of 15.5 minutes. That sort of undivided attention can be hard to come across in the digital world – and something companies should be taking into consideration.

Why the popularity? Messages via paper and ink make it easier for this generation to make an emotional connection to brands. Inundated in a highly-saturated digital landscape, millennials are drawn to the physicality of direct mail – with the highest sort, open, and read rates of any previous generation. Studies also show that millennials have more trust for printed materials over digital content, with 90% reporting that direct mail is reliable.



Rated the most interesting piece of standard mail by consumers, the USPS Household Diary reported that catalogs even beat out newspapers and magazines by 31%. It’s rare that consumers look forward to advertisements, yet 84% say they enjoy getting catalogs from retailers they previously shopped from.

Like other forms of direct mail, catalogs are inherently engaging. Unlike the digital world, direct mail requires action, and USPS studies show 79% of people act on direct mail right away. The active choice made between saving and tossing mail forces the consumer to interact with a brand physically. In most households, the ritual of sorting and reading mail takes around 30 minutes.

Then, there’s longevity. The average life-span of an email is a couple of seconds, while mail can sit on the counter or coffee table for up to 17 days, if not longer. Your consumer, and potentially their guests, will have plenty of opportunities to pick up your catalog and start shopping.


The bottom line? Catalogs drive sales and are an amazing tool for lead generation. Numbers from the DMA report that 100.7 million consumers made catalog purchases in 2016. Not only that, but 30% of people polled reported a catalog drove them to shop online, with millennials and Gen-Xers topping that at 38%. By strategically combining offline and online messaging, you can increase the drive to websites, social media, and brick and mortar locations. As recently as 2017, catalogs have a stronger influence on purchasing decisions (71%) than websites (65%) or TV ads (61%).

But we’re not here to tell you to ditch your digital strategy. When incorporated into your multichannel marketing campaigns, catalogs can be a viable source of business for your company. Thanks to advanced targeting capabilities, the popularity of the medium and trustworthiness of print, catalogs continue to positively impact ROI by creating engaging relationships with consumers. All you need now is the right strategic partner.

Prisma, your experts in marketing.

Every day our team goes to work to make omnichannel campaigns a breeze for our clients, from data and insights to creative design and execution, we’ve got you covered. We’re a one-of-a-kind company with the knowledge, expertise, and innovation to help you take your marketing to the next level. We’re here to help you stand out from the competition.
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BY PRISMAJune 10, 2018

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