The catalog’s role in your brand journey

And so it continues!  Last year following the NEMOA direct XChange conference I shared some thoughts on the evolution of the catalog and how it’s a thriving channel to generate revenue and share your brand story. The catalog continues to advance as a marketing strategy and as Deborah Cavanagh, SVP of Marketing for Talbots shared in her keynote at the recent direct XChange 2016 Spring Conference, “The catalog is an editorial platform – it’s a means to communicating product ideas. It’s an oasis of imagination.”

The catalog as an editorial platform allows you to differentiate your brand.  It incorporates the marketing components needed to have a successful marketing campaign with data playing an essential role in its success. During the direct XChange 2016 Spring Conference, Epsilon’s Jackie Marquis led a roundtable discussion on the topic of the big data trap and why you must focus on small data. During the conversation the characteristics of small data were discussed including how small data provides a snapshot view, informs visuals and helps to create emotional connections with consumers. Additionally, attendees shared their perceptions of how small data can be gained from behavioral observations. For example, think of the observations a Starbucks barista makes about her customers as they come into the coffee shop. She observes the personality traits of frequent customers, their beverage of choice and makes note of these ‘small data facts’ so she can service her customers to the best of her ability. Data is a powerful asset whether big or small and no matter the channel. You don’t need “big data” to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Data helps to tell the story of your brand and fuels the catalog with insights adding a personal component to help drive sales.

When thinking about your brand story, you need to ensure your messaging is consistent across all channels but also be mindful of how consumers are interacting with each channel.  For example, consumers expect to receive promotional offers on their mobile app. And when they’re reading a catalog, they’re more apt to review your products and services in detail and plan for their next shopping trip using their mobile – it’s a convenient channel. Each channel should complement one another and be a chapter in your story book. For example, women’s clothing retailer White House Black Market promotes on their mobile app “$20 off your $100 purchase on fashion items in our latest spring line up” while in their catalog, the focus is on the trending colors for spring fashions with their messaging of “It takes color …. every spring wardrobe needs a hit of hue.  From cosmetic pink to rich blush and mahogany, expressive shades insert personality into your wardrobe.” The two channels complement each other each working to support each other’s objective of promoting the spring line up.

To close, Cavanagh also commented how consumers connect emotionally with a brand while viewing the catalog. She said, Emotion leads to action which results in loyalty beyond reason.” So remember, the catalog remains an active and profitable channel.