January 26, 2015

If The NY TImes Says Catalogs Are Back, They're Back!

Soak it in (click here)! What else are you going to do today, as snow envelops one tiny fraction of the planet but dominates everything you read or watch?

Pay attention to the graph.

Notice that the article doesn't talk much about sales, and doesn't mention profit. Why didn't any of the companies shown in the article talk about how profitable it is to mail catalogs?

It's been quite an old-school media blitz about catalogs in recent weeks, don't you think? It almost makes you feel like something is being astroturfed by the sources in the article who have a vested interest in promoting paper.

And like all articles, it is dutifully mentioned that Lands' End lost sales 15 years ago by not mailing as many catalogs, therefore, everybody today should pay attention to that cautionary tale. 

Does the article mention about AOL mailed fewer internet access CDs via the mail in 2000 and ever since, point out that AOL lost all their market share, and then use that as a cautionary tale for promoting internet access via mailed CDs in 2015? Wait. Maybe we just figured something out. Maybe, just maybe, AOL would still be granting all of us internet access if they were still mailing those CDs to us.

Now, go measure your own catalog results via mail/holdout tests. If you can demonstrate that you have a 62% organic rate and you can still generate profit mailing a catalog to online customers outside of 12 months of recency who look a lot like Judy, then please, go mail as many catalogs as you profitably can - you've made a good decision.