June 09, 2019

22 Pages

Yup, that's it. That's what Williams Sonoma published a week ago, delivered on a Saturday.

Bifurcation of traditional catalog marketing is coming to all of ya. Yes, all of ya.

For non-catalogers, 16-22 pages will represent a way to create awareness. For non-catalogers, the format will not generate a ton of sales, and the format will barely be profitable. But it will be a better form of awareness than display ads.

For catalogers, it's time to buckle up. 

At the recent Datamann Conference, I shared the concept of "Bifurcation" with the audience. Your customer files are splitting in half. You spent 15 years trying to hold the customer file together (#multichannel #omnichannel), and the customer chose otherwise.
  1. A minority of the file, age 60+, are running head-first into retirement, and they're not about to don VR headsets to watch a simulated in-store display in 3D. They're comfortable doing what they've always done. They're going to buy from catalogs until they can't anymore. You can mail these customers 30-50 times per year.
  2. A vast majority of the file, age 15-59, do not see you as a catalog brand and have minimal or no interest whatsoever in print. Period. They're buying merchandise from your brand. As a consequence, you'll greatly reduce your contacts to this audience until, one day, you simply won't ever mail them again (if you continue to have 80-120 page contacts in your strategy).
So where does the 22 page contact come into play? How does this represent the future?
  • The 22 page contact acts as contact #31 or contact #43 to the best pure catalog customer.
  • The 22 page contact is a bridge for the 15-59 year old customer who couldn't care less about print ... bridging the past (catalog marketing) to the future (catalog as an awareness tool).

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