If you want people to get their hands on your product, you’ve got to put something in their hands first. It could be a catalog, postcard, glossy brochure or a newspaper or magazine advertisement. When you give the customer an experience he can feel, he is more likely to be your next buyer.   

Recently after I arrived home from work, I opened my mailbox and an oversized postcard jumped out (from amongst the bills…!) It helped, of course, that the postcard was from a company whose successful marketing techniques I really admire: Bed, Bath & Beyond. When the recession hit hard three years ago, this company didn’t clamp down on their marketing – actually, they ramped it up – especially their 20% coupon special. It’s no wonder that the company just announced record earnings a few weeks ago and their stock is hovering at an all-time high.

While the conventional wisdom over the past decade was declaring that “print is dead,” Bed Bath & Beyond knows that people of all ages respond to direct mail. The folks at Retail Online Integration, who advocate the diversified use of several advertising and marketing venues, say you get a longer attention span with print, a longer shelf life, and a higher perceived value. The pressing issues for 2011, they say, are determining how your print catalogs work in a cross-channel environment, and the right mix of print and electronic media for your brand.

Just about a year ago, five of the nation’s leading magazine publishers embarked on a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign promoting the “power of print” in this online, digital era in which we live. Some of the statistics they issued were eye-opening. Four out of five Americans read magazines and spend an average of 43 minutes reading them. Who says we don’t have long attention spans anymore? According to the 2010 DMA (Direct Marketing Association) Statistical Fact Book, 79 percent of households read or skim direct mail pieces.

Sure some companies are putting their catalogs on line in page-flipping digital formats. You click your mouse on the pages or show off your dexterity in finger-swiping to turn the pages. This is certainly a marketing phenomenon worth watching, and would seem at the moment, a great way of leveraging the print version.

You may have seen the holiday mailer we just produced for Le Chocolatier Extraordinaire. It may have even shown up in your mailbox one night, and I am certain you found it too big of a treat to delete.  

Our good friends at the Flatbush-based chocolate maker came to us with a challenge. They wanted us to help them generate new leads for their core business of gift baskets during the increasingly competitive holiday season. To help them do this, and to set them apart from competitors, our creative team produced a beautiful, cost-effective “mini” catalog that showcased their delectable chocolates and stunning gift baskets.

There is an art and science to creating effective retail and business to business catalogs. Catalogs need beautiful photography to effectively showcase products, hard-hitting and concise copywriting to make the sales pitch, a strong call to action throughout the piece, accurate mailing lists to reach the right audience and a keen understanding of how best to organize and position content for maximum ROI (Return On Investment). We arranged all of this them, and the results were really sweet.

We’re not debating whether electronic media works. It does and we use it too for suitable clients and target markets, but if you are targeting the growing Orthodox Jewish community, wherever they are in the world, print is still king and is unlikely to ever be dethroned.

Bottom Line Action Step: On your next marketing campaign dont squint when someone says use print. Instead, sprint!

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