The Real Media Collective is on a mission – bring the voice of Kiwis to the marketers. The first step was to speak to customers, and then partner with Roy Morgan Research for a conducted a series of focus groups across Auckland and Wellington to explore whether letterbox and catalogue marketing should be thrown out for new channels, or embraced for its proven track record and sales power?
Lori Mitchell sat down with Kellie Northwood, CEO, The Real Media Collective, to gain insight into the latest findings.
What do New Zealanders think of catalogues?
Customers view catalogues as a ‘useful tool’ that that they want – they want information on products, range, price and availability. Most interestingly for us is that the focus groups both in Australia and now New Zealand, complain when they don’t receive their catalogues. It is a staggering concept when you think about that, imagine if a television channel didn’t play advertisements and viewers rang up and complained? Unheard of. However, if a catalogue doesn’t arrive, people expressed genuine dissatisfaction with the brand.
This is a powerful position the catalogue holds above any other mass advertising channel – customers actually want to receive the messaging and when they do they find it useful.
What surprised you the most about the findings from the focus groups?
Catalogues are seen as an ‘Inspirational’ driver. That is as the layout of catalogues have changed from price only starbursts and sales items to look-book styling, customers are speaking about being inspired – ‘I didn’t need a new bedspread, but I saw the cover and thought, that looks beautiful and was affordable so I went in and bought it’.
This shifts the channel from being a ‘Price’ driver only to an opportunity for brands to build equity and loyalty – ‘I get ideas from Harvey Norman, they had the whole living room set up and I wanted it all’ – in how they design their catalogues as well as offering affordability and product availability.
The second, which I suppose works hand in hand with catalogues being ‘useful’ and ‘inspirational’ is that the letterbox is not what it once was. With online retailing being a growth sector and transactional mailing or bills going to email – the letterbox is now a place that delivers you new shoes, a handbag or purchase rather than delivering a bill to be paid. The letterbox is only going to get bigger and from the research, the newest shopping channel that retailers can build an advertising presence within.
Where does the letterbox sit in today’s marketing landscape and where is it heading?
Customers are very fluid in the channels they use, they don’t consciously choose TV or email or catalogue only. Some feedback explored that the ‘emails are good because they put in there the things I usually buy, but then the catalogues give me ideas on things I haven’t bought before’. This shows the relevance of the humble catalogue as well as shows the power of both channels, all within one straightforward sentence. As marketers we need to move away from competing channels with each other and look to each channel as a tool in the toolbox that we can use to build a strong home.
Catalogues have always been a strong Price driver, is this still the case?
No doubt. The findings were clear – catalogues inspire me with ideas and provide me information of the best value.
For consumers on tight budgets, catalogues were discussed as useful tools that helped them plan their meals and stay in control of their spending. New Zealand consumers use catalogues to determine where they will shop each week, what they will cook for the week ahead and value is key.
And people really notice who is and who isn’t providing the information - ‘I look at all the catalogues every week, I don’t get one from Pak’n’Save which is a shame because I don’t know what they have on special’
Catalogues and letterbox marketing, like all channels are evolving, and they must to ensure they remain relevant. This research is important because it shows not only are catalogues still a strong influencer, they are also highly relevant to customer today.
The Real Media Collective is presenting the results to industry at an Industry breakfast in Auckland – 27th February 2019. Register via www.thermcbrekkie.rsvpify.com