Maximizing response rates from a catalog perspective

This post is contributed by Jackie Marquis, Senior Vice President, Data Solutions at Epsilon. To connect with Jackie, click here.

I was able to experience world-class catalog marketing at the recent NEMOA conference. NEMOA’s events provide an opportunity for brands to ‘show and tell’ their latest and greatest catalogs and share their story through visuals and images that bring their brand to life. The catalog is a direct-to-consumer strategy that works and yields sales.

As noted in our recent blog, the catalog is still an active and successful channel – a sentiment that rang true at the NEMOA fall event. What’s changed is that catalogs have become part of the offline, online match making that’s taking place.The catalog complements online channels and research has proven that online sales are increased as a result of a consumer viewing a catalog.

Today, catalog marketers are working to develop their omnichannel strategies. At NEMOA, through a roundtable I moderated, I was able to connect with catalog marketers and listen to the challenges they’re facing as it relates to their omnichannel strategy. Here’s a few I’d like to share with you:

Achieving continuity in messaging, regardless of channel With the omnichannel frenzy that’s underway, marketers often think ”I need to have multiple messages, one for each channel.”  You need to remember, content comes before channel. Create your messaging strategy that’s targeted to meet the personal needs of the consumers you’re trying to reach and then decide on the best channel for delivering the message. You may have heard the phrase, “Content is King.”

The integration of online and offline data to drive improved performance and response  If a marketer makes a messaging decision for a subset of customers through offline data only, they’re missing key behavioral insights that are captured through online channels. Marketers need to bridge online and offline data to get a 360-degree view of their customers. Through technology, data identity management and analytic and profiling strategies, marketers can gain this single view.

Channel attribution from both a budget and revenue perspective  Attribution – it’s a word that gives many marketers the same feeling as nails on a chalkboard. It’s a challenge, and one that marketers are trying to solve. My recommendation to you as you’re navigating this challenge is to first review the infrastructure of your organization and your teams. Do your email and social teams align? Is your print and direct mail location offsite? Think about how you can merge your teams together to  get  on the same page. I know, this is easier said than done and requires executive buy-in but you can start by making simple changes. For example, develop a steering committee that meets weekly and has a team member representing each channel.

So, as you’re planning and reviewing your omnichannel strategy, take a deep breath and realize you’re not alone. Additionally, think of brands or organizations with whom you can partner with to enhance your online initiatives. Determine how you can maximize your response from a catalog perspective by partnering with the online experts and supporting  channels.

At the end of the day, regardless of the channel you’re telling your story in, keep your messaging – your brand – consistent. Consider developing a brand mission if you haven’t already done so. Your brand will help to drive your messaging and ensure consistency is maintained.