Buying Online from a Direct Mail Catalog

REI recently announced the launch of Uncommon Path, an outdoor lifestyle magazine to be distributed at brick-and-mortar stores and select newsstands. Netflix has a magazine in the works to promote its shows and stars in advance of this year’s Emmy Awards. Dollar Shave Club and Airbnb are recent entrants to the branded magazine arena, while Red Bull has been publishing its own magazine since 2005.

Overall, it’s no secret that print magazine circulation is declining, but that’s not stopping major brands from publishing magazines that engage niche audiences with long-form content.

In addition to magazines, print catalogs are still very much in demand. Even Wayfair, an online-only retailer since its founding in 2002, recently started offering a print catalog that users can sign up to receive on its website.

Recent research from the Data & Marketing Association indicates response rates are up for catalogs, which the report says are better at driving sales than some forms of digital marketing. To those who consider catalogs an old-school medium, researchers point out that “millennials are more interested in catalogs than your grandmother.”

Direct mail is also delivering results. Research from Heinz Marketing found that marketers using direct mail reported higher overall effectiveness compared to all other non-digital channels, while 71.4 percent expected to maintain or ramp up direct mail use in the future.

Print Consumption Behavior vs. Digital Consumption Behavior

Putting aside the data for a second, think about how people consume digital content compared to print content on an average day.

With digital content, you scan the internet for snippets of information. You scan and scroll through your favorite social media apps, eyes glazed, for something relevant or interesting. Maybe you spend a few seconds on Google to find a place to eat. Basically, you’re trying to get a tidbit of information as quickly as possible. And if you use voice search or a smart speaker, forget the scrolling and searching. Technology does the work to make the process even faster.

When it comes to print media, you grab hold of it because you’re ready to read. You’re on an hour train ride or a three-hour flight. You’re lying in bed or kicking back with your morning coffee. Instead of looking to get in and get out, you’re taking your time and digesting the content in your hands.

Multichannel, Not “Either-Or”

Digital content is not going away. It shouldn’t go away. But digital should be part of an integrated, multichannel marketing strategy that takes full advantage of print magazines, catalogs, and/or direct mail.

There are plenty of reasons why brands are doubling down on print, from research that proves its effectiveness to common-sense media consumption habits. Contact us to help you develop and execute a multichannel strategy that minimizes postage costs and maximizes impact.