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Bringing Your Catalog into the Digital Age: Engagement

A seamless customer journey is something that customers demand and marketers are striving to get right. Connecting all of a customer’s touchpoints into one fluid conversation not only makes sense, but it’s easier than ever to achieve. In the digital world, we use cookies and customer profiles and identity systems to connect a customer’s phone, email, website visits, and digital ads into one location, so we can have a holistic view. Even physical store locations are joining in with tablets accessing clienteling apps. But there is one piece missing from this digital customer journey: the catalog.

The catalog is seen by many marketers as “old school”. There’s no digital, technological aspect to connect the catalog to the rest of the digital world. But marketers are still investing in catalogs: According to the DMA, 9.8 billion catalogs were delivered in 2016, and over 100.7 million adults made a catalog purchase. Catalogs provide something the digital world can’t – a reference guide, glossy images of products, and it sits right on the kitchen table of the customer’s home!

With marketing moving towards the digital realm, there should be more effort to connect the catalog together with the website. Marketers need to get creative to bring the traditional paper & ink book online. Here are a few examples:

  • Where’s Waldo? – Can customers find “Waldo” within the pages of your catalog? Set up a landing page on your website for customers, where every right answer gets $10 off your online order, and a drawing for a $100 gift card!
  • Calling out “Your Pages” – Identify customers who will be receiving the catalog, and send them an email to keep their eye on their mailbox. Within this email, let customers know what page they can find their favorite product category. Or, you can take it one step further and use next best offer (NBO) modeling to encourage customers to check out a new product category.
  • Make ‘em ask for it! – There are some customers who just prefer catalogs. They like to see glossy pictures and have a physical book to flip through in their spare time. But with a focus on RFM metrics and optimizing ROAS, these customers may never see a catalog. Have a form on your website for customers who would like to receive the catalog, and make sure these customers are prioritized and receive a catalog every time.

While the first option is fun and engaging for customers (and who doesn’t like discounts!), the second two options are tools that are already being used in marketing and have proven to have real results. NBO modeling and product recommendations are used in email marketing today, and subscription centers, where customers choose how and when they prefer to be communicated to, is a best practice that many marketers are already using in the digital world.

These tactics are not possible without a solid grasp on your customer data and analytics. Without previous purchase data and correct NBO models, marketers risk sending irrelevant communications to customers. Without prioritizing the right customers over RFM metrics, you risk upsetting customers and potentially losing revenue. While marketers can get creative, make sure to always refer back to the customer data and your own analysis for proven ways to connect the catalog with the digital realm.