Give Your Customers the Freedom to Choose

After the recent announcement from Victoria’s Secret that they’re cancelling the distribution of their long-standing and ultra-popular print catalog, everyone is waiting to see what, if any, impact this decision will have on sales.

While this brand is banking on cyber-loving Millennials picking up the slack, other brands aren’t quite ready to relinquish the benefits of print marketing — and with good reason.

Take Costco for example. According to an eye-opening article about direct mail by Entrepreneur, they send 8.6 million catalogs monthly, and a whopping 56% of members purchase something they find within its pages. Williams-Sonoma and their subsidiaries find them just as beneficial; so much so that they dedicate half of their marketing budget to catalogs annually. The article also points out that Neiman Marcus receives $4 in sales for every dollar they spend on catalog production — a profit stream they’re certainly not interested in giving up anytime soon.

These and other large-scale businesses are seeing such notable success with their catalogs because they’ve made them part of a bigger-picture multimedia marketing strategy. By investing in both online and print channels, they allow shoppers from a spectrum of ages and incomes to shop on their terms — and the profitable fact is that plenty of customers still prefer perusing the pages of a catalog.

Which makes the decision by Victoria’s Secret to forego their iconic catalog all the more baffling. Although it’s always good practice for businesses to beef up their Web-focused marketing, choosing to sacrifice another successful marketing channel in the process is a big gamble… a gamble that many other customer-service-savvy companies aren’t willing to take.

Before you consider streamlining your long-term marketing plan, remember this tried-and-true mantra: Giving customers the freedom to choose how they connect with your brand is always better for business.

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.