What Goes Around Comes Around – In Print

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January 14, 2016

It seems everywhere you look recently, there is yet another source telling us that print is ‘in,’ ‘back’, or the ‘new media’. Magazines are back in vogue, catalogs are a staple in the multi-channel marketing food chain, and millennials both love and trust print. In case you’ve been living in a cave and have missed the resurgence and new ‘cool’ of print marketing, we offer you this roundup.

In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Denise Lee Yohn stressed that the popularity and importance of catalogs are not just a short-lived trend. “Given the new dynamics of multichannel marketing and commerce, as well as the new targeting and measurement capabilities of catalog marketing, I think catalogs are here to stay this time.”

Retailers simply can’t afford to overlook the direct correlation between catalog shoppers and increased spending. The ability to incorporate content marketing within catalogs can add even more value or ‘shelf life’ if you will, to the printed piece. Major retailers now include recipes and lifestyle sections to enhance the usability of the books.

Restoration Hardware has elevated brand-building through catalogs to an art form.  Its 2014 annual catalog was actually comprised of up to 13 “sourcebooks” with more than 3,300 pages of luxurious photography, profiles of designers and craftsmen, inspirational stories — and yes, products for sale.  The extravagant catalog is part of the company’s effort of “becoming a brand worthy of loving,” as chairman and CEO Gary Friedman explains.  ”We believe what we are doing is moving beyond an intellectual connection to an emotional one. We are beginning to express those things we deeply believe in a way you can see it.” ~ Why the Print Catalog is Back in Style

Just this month, InfoTrends released its multi-client study: Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A strategy for growth. The study took an in-depth look at how consumers interact with both digital and print channels. Here are some of their major takeaways as summarized by Tukaiz:

While we continually hear about paperless options, consumers continue to see significant value in catalogs. InfoTrends’ survey respondents indicated a high propensity to read and interact with catalogs.


64% of consumers regularly or almost always read catalogs

74% of consumers like catalogs and consider them useful tools to learn about products

90% of consumers use catalogs to learn and get ideas about things that interest them

The study also uncovered the fact that catalogs are a critical tool for moving consumers across multiple channels, including online avenues and brick & mortar retailers.

For example:

Consumers spend an average of 8.1 minutes reading a catalog.

62% of consumers who receive catalogs made a purchase within the past 3 months that was influenced by a catalog.”


Catalogs aren’t the only printed media being lauded labeled as ‘new’. According to a recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review, titled “Print is the ‘new’ Media”magazines are making a strong comeback. A magazine is now seen as a ‘brand that offers exclusivity and invites a ‘tribe’ mentality.

“Samir Husni predicted print’s recovery if that’s indeed what this is. A University of Mississippi professor known online as Mr. Magazine, he rattles off websites turned print magazines, including CNET, Catster, Dogster, Allrecipes, WebMD, and Net-a-Porter, three of which launched this year. They are among 204 new print magazines to launch in 2015, by Husni’s count, which he maintains on his website and updates monthly. Those who abandoned print, lured by the elusive promise of digital, are beginning to repent, says Husni. “Print is the faithful spouse. Ninety-five percent of the money is in print.” ~ Columbia Journalism Review

Standing out from the crowd in a digital environment that is constantly demanding attention from every direction – a new email, a pop-up add, an online message or social media update – is becoming increasingly impossible. It is in this world that the solitude, quiet and comfort created by a printed connection is the only place to build a genuine and memorable relationship.  Wondering where to start?  Let us help.

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