Why catalogs belong in your multi-channel marketing campaign

When was the last time you cleaned out your inbox? How daunting is the task? How much attention do you pay to an individual email when you’re trying to get that number down to zero?

Now apply those same questions to your mailbox. You empty it every day. It’s not nearly as full, so it’s not nearly as daunting. And because of that, each piece of mail you receive has a greater chance of snagging your attention, even if just for an extra moment.

What does this all mean from a marketing perspective? When it comes to today’s consumer, catalogs hold some serious sway.

The Power of Paper

How much sway do catalogs hold?

50% of all Americans make purchases based on catalogs they receive, and 90 million purchase directly from catalogs, according to estimates by the Direct Marketing Association.

Quad Graphics Customer Focus reports that 30% of people polled said a catalog they received drove them to shop online; the percentage hikes to 38% for Gen-Xers.

And then there’s the 73% vs. 18%. International Communication Research found that to be the breakdown between the percentage of Americans who prefer to receive offers and new product announcements by mail as opposed to email. You guessed it—73% prefer mail.

Why Are Catalogs So Effective?

With numbers that compelling, catalogs present significant benefits to modern marketing campaigns. But just why are they so effective?

One of the reasons catalogs stand out is that, as mentioned, physical mail is scarcer than digital communication, and scarcity draws attention. Beyond that, there are a host of other reasons to incorporate catalogs as part of your marketing strategy:

    • Catalogs offer a multi-sensory experience. Today’s consumer is drawn in by experiences, and the more immersive, the greater the draw. In a digital age, catalogs offer the increasingly rare experience of touch. Combined with the visual appeal of well-designed pages, catalogs stimulate multiple senses, creating a stronger and more lasting impression on consumers.


  • Catalogs provide an additional touch point for consumers in the trajectory of the purchasing process. According to the Data and Marketing Association, it takes 7 to 13+ touches to convert a prospective customer into a paying one. Adding catalogs to a robust multi-channel marketing plan increases your business’ opportunities to make direct contact with your target audience.


  • Catalogs are a prime resource for consumer education. Research shows it’s increasingly important to consumers to know not only what your product is and how it works, but how it would work for them. Catalogs give you the space to combine concise and effective copy with compelling graphics to paint a fuller picture of how your product can fit into your customers’ lives.


Making It Personal

An additional benefit of catalogs is the opportunity to continue your brand story. Your brand—what you stand for, what you produce, how you produce it, and why you do what you do—is unique to you. It’s your business’ personality, and catalogs offer you the chance to let that character shine through so customers can build a personal relationship with you.

And personal is the name of the game. Customizing your catalog design and using authentic images not only builds brand recognition, but infuses emotion into the shopping experience, deepening the customer’s connection to you and your product.

When well-designed and well-situated within a multi-channel marketing strategy, catalogs are a unique and powerful tool for sharing your story with your customers, and inviting them to be a part of it.


Illustrated Designs, Inc. has been at the forefront of the marketing industry for 30+ years. From design to execution, their innovative design team develops catalogs, event décor, printed materials, 3-D displays, and more.
Contact: info@illustrateddesigns.net


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