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Top 10 Catalog Marketing Mistakes

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru

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Of course, you want to know what to do as you set up or revise your catalog marketing program.


But sometimes the best way to do that is to learn what not to do.

Here are the top 10 catalog marketing mistakes made by beginners and experienced catalog merchants as well.

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10. Too many catalogs


Customers are very junk mail sensitive, especially with the push for greener lifestyles. If you send out catalogs too frequently, the value of your mailings will drop. For most companies, once a quarter is enough … for others, any more than once a year is too often.

9. Poor targeting


Catalog marketing is a channel where more is not better; it’s just more expensive. That’s a reality many new marketers overlook.

Pick your demographics and focus your efforts on the most likely prospects and repeat customer groups.

8. Missing details


Catalogs missing colors, sizes or styles. Catalogs missing descriptions or images. Catalogs that forget to tell customers what forms of payment you accept. Even catalogs missing the number customers need to place an order.

All of these critical details have been left out of catalogs we’ve seen. What’s missing from yours?

7. Unattractive layout


The appearance of your catalog is a major factor in the reaction of prospective customers. Make sure the colors, layout and fonts are all easy to read and view, and that the images you select are a good reflection of your business image.

6. Hard to find ordering information


Some catalog marketers get so caught up in the creative aspects of catalog design that they forget to place basic information like hours, phone numbers and web addresses where catalog readers can easily find it. Make sure your calls to action, contact information and other critical information are visible throughout the catalog.

5. Pictures too small


Yes, print costs are more if images are larger or more detailed. But if customers need to use a magnifying glasss to see the pictures well, those tiny images won’t inspire shoppers to make a purchase. Clear images, with a view of the product that’s large enough to see critical details are one of a cataloger’s best marketing tools.

4. Bad organization


Many catalog marketing beginners place products haphazrdly in their catalogs, leaving visitors confused about what you have. Make it easy for browsers to find what they need and want in your catalog. Organize products by themes, colors, seasons or uses, and you’ll increase the likelihood of unplanned additional purchases.

3. Unclear branding


What does your company stand for? How is it different from the rest of the merchants in your niche? Too many catalogs fail to define their brand. Select and use a color scheme, logo, product style or other identifiable branding tool to remind repeat catalog recipients who you are.

2. Catalog information contradicts web information


Make sure the messages and branding image on your website works with your catalog presence. While you may choose to target slightly different demographics with the two channels, customers should be see the relationship between the two. Pricing and attribute difference between the two are another common mistake. A web (or catalog) discount is one thing. A whole different set of prices will alienate customers.

1. Inaccurate information


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This is sadly a common mistake, especially among new catalog marketers. Make sure the prices, descriptions, colors and sizes you list in yuor catalog are accurate and up to date. Not sure how long you’ll have a certain product? Give your catalogs an expiration date to alert readers to possible changes after that date.

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