How catalog marketers are using data to deliver 1:1 messages

It’s no secret. Catalogs are evolving and one could argue the catalog plays a more meaningful role in the customer experience today than it has since the advent of online shopping. With this evolution comes a new role for the catalog as part of an ominchannel strategy. It serves a new purpose on the path to purchase and needs to deliver the one-to-one message consumers have come to expect in other channels. As Stacey Hawes noted in a recent post, the catalog should be used to “unlock the joy of your customers and create an emotional connection.” 

How can catalog marketers use data to help them achieve this?

One-to-one marketing ranges from simple to complex. For catalog marketers looking to develop a personalization strategy, start simple. Develop an understanding of who your customer is through demographics, hobbies, interests, life stage and more. Ask yourself questions like, “Are they young and up-comers?” “Are they young families?” or, “Are they retired?”

Identifying the customer groups that make up your best performing segments is your starting point on the path to personalization and one-to-one marketing. Epsilon’s Niches, a powerful segmentation solution that classifies households into one of 26 detailed personas, enables marketers to glean a comprehensive view of data insights across demographics, financials, lifestyles and more. These insights provide critical guidance for making design changes within your campaigns.

A little change goes a long way. These changes don’t have to be complex or drain your marketing budget. For example, for catalogs, it could be as simple as changing the cover for two different customer segments. If your best customer segment is a young family, then incorporate graphical elements of a family enjoying the experience of your brand. If it’s a newly retired woman, then show a  woman enjoying the lifestyle or hobbies that reflect your brand. Adapting a simplified creative strategy by customer segment to your catalog marketing approach is something you can implement today.

Because your catalog is likely part of a larger omnichannel strategy, consider extending these simple but powerful changes to the digital and direct mail channels. For your email messages, change the subject lines and content to reflect the product lines that these customers buy most frequently. Additionally, drive online activity from your emails via click-throughs to customized landing pages. This enhances the customer experience as it prevents customers from having to click around, especially since so much activity occurs on a mobile device. And when designing your direct mail pieces, include the address for the closest retail location to drive customers in store. Don’t forget to add the address to your catalog as well. Take advantage of these simple changes to create experiences that are most relevant to your customers.

Leveraging your data assets to create emotional connections with your customers is key to driving one-to-one marketing experiences. As our CEO Andy Frawley noted in his recent book, Igniting Customer Connections, “Experience creates emotion, and emotion is what makes an engagement meaningful. In fact, our research revealed that in the absence of an emotional connection, highly engaged customers provide no incremental benefit to business outcomes.”