Why Catalogs are Still Winning Holiday Marketing


Retail Dive | November 22, 2021


As digital advertising becomes less reliable and more expensive, retailers are turning back to print to win over consumers during peak season. Catalogs have a deep history in retail. Of the first direct-mail catalogs for the holidays, Sears Christmas Wish Book, was first sent out in 1933, and J.C. Penney's Big Book, first sent out in 1963. This year, retailers maybe turning a page back to stand out among competition and flooded email inboxes.


Walmart and Amazon sent out catalogs geared toward children with pages filled with the hottest toys. Ballard Designs, Grandin Road, RH and Frontgate have issued their own catalogs with holiday decor set to inspire. This year, Lowe's and Sam's Club both created their first holiday catalogs to target customers.


Digital marking noise and higher social ad costs are giving brands more reason to return to print. "There's thousands of emails that come in, especially over the holiday. Consumers become numb to it." Chad Lusk, Senior Director, Alvarez & Marsal Consumer and Retail Group. Facebook has presented high costs and cost per thousand impressions and cost per click this increasing 40% to 50% this year. And on top of that, Apple's recent changes related to privacy and app tracking have made it more difficult to effectively market on Facebook.


A print catalog or direct-mailer has 100% viewability by the target audience, according to Polly Wong, president at Belardi Wong. "Every single piece makes it into the mailbox, and the consumer has got to touch it to throw it away," she said.


These days a company cannot be all online or offline when it comes to its marketing strategies. Tapping into a diverse mix of channels is necessary to gain traffic and drive sales.


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