Of course addressed and unaddressed catalogues haven’t remained stationary. They have evolved, driven by advances in digital targeting of households.
Reachmedia distributes catalogues for a range of retailers. Radford says the number of households being targeted for delivery is reducing but campaigns are more frequent. A retailer that might have been doing a print run of 700,000 a month, is down to runs of 500,000 but distributing 20 times a year.
Deidre Ross of print and distributor company Mailshop, concurs.
“Retailers can flag their customer database so it’s relevant to an individual, and can see what they have purchased,” she says.
Retailers can combine the information from their own customer databases with external data from agencies such as Roy Morgan.
Roy Mogan provides data that builds a picture of potential and existing customer’s through information on location, demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, behaviours and values.
Kellie Northwood says the more targeted the distribution, the higher the return on investment.
“This has led to ‘streamed’ catalogue production … The artwork is consistent throughout, however, the front section may be men’s apparel in a male-dominated demographic.” Or vice-versa.
“Retailers are becoming very savvy about how to create content that is relevant to their consumers,” she says.
Fancy technology like augmented reality means consumers can scan their catalogues with their smartphones and learn more about – say – the regional origin of the bottle of wine they are interested in buying.
This more sophisticated targeting of customers, of course, means that mailers are more likely to pass what Dominic Sutton, director of Pumpt Advertising, likes to call the audition process. This is the relevancy test customers give their mail after they’ve removed it from the letterbox.
“The length of time of that audition relies on a number of things; there might be a bill or a letter in there; it may literally be a flick with the fingers all happening in the two minutes you walk up the driveway.”
Some mailers will make it into the house due to relevance (which comes down to good targeting), timing, a certain level of creativity on how the customer sees words and images on the front and back pages, and the core promotional value, Sutton says.
Reachmedia’s Radford says once a mailer gets into the home, 47 percent of people will keep it for longer than a day.
Reachmedia has researched which advertising mediums worked for planned and unplanned purchases. Digital channels are great for planned, Radford says.
“If you know you want to buy a used TV, you can jump online and research it.”
By contrast, catalogues are great for sparking unplanned buying.
“I’m sitting there on the couch. My Harvey Norman catalogue has arrived, I’m due for a bit of an upgrade, and the catalogue prompts you to go online and search for one,” he says.
And of course, direct and digital marketing aren’t operating in silos like they used to be.
When PMP’s head of sales and marketing Kim Schofield started her role a year and a half ago, marketers were talking about digital strategy and the merits of that in isolation from other marketing channels such as letterbox marketing.
“There has been a transition to incorporate the printing component to the marketing strategy with the same end goals. We find that printed collateral doesn’t need to stand alone as it is really effective when it ties into the digital strategy reinforcing the same message to the consumer. Recent research shows that 48 percent of people often visit a website when prompted by unaddressed mail. The other benefit is that it can be used in store as well.”