In the world of marketing bigger isn't always better.  Think quality first.

You don’t need to reduce quality in order to save money on your catalog. Think television sets and cell phones. Bigger isn’t always better. Catalogers often believe that they need to have large catalogs in order to make a statment. But that isn’t necessary true. Consider our earlier blog Don’t Kill The King when we talk about changing to a smaller format. It is not necessary to sacrifice content or page count in order to cut back your budget.

Poetry will teach us how to say more with less. Smaller catalogs do the same. It allows us to concentrate on content, both visual and written. We select that which is most pertinent and leave out the wasted space. Here are a few tips that can save space, money, and reduce content that is less pertinent:

Above Average Photography

National Geographic is well known for their photos. Sure, they have a beautiful catalog and magazine, nice glossy paper. But paper isn’t everything. It’s the photos that we remember most. If a picture is 1,000 words as we so often hear (although I

think it’s probably more), then this is not implausible. The images in your catalog should not only reflect your brand, but they should tell a story; one that is inclusive to your brand as well as the people who are experiencing it. For example, if you are selling kitchenware, what are you more likely to respond to? Pages filled with single images of kitchen utensils, or, a scene with a chef using the utensils? The first is a photo of what the catalog is selling while the second is both the product and a testimony of that product. With this technique multiple items can be displayed in the same image on a single page. Think whisk and bowl and apron and spatula. But probably even more than that! Think small photos within large photos. Say your special item of the issue is spatulas. Little box photos within the larger photo can showcase that product more than the rest. Paying closer attention to your photography will not only Take Good Photos for Your Catalog Imageenable your catalogs appeal, but it will better serve your content space as well.

Readjust Content for a Better Page Layout

Important content should always be concise and easy to find. A good strategy that takes up less space is to list your items on the sides of your pages. Important is not to make your page overly complex or bombard your customer with too much all at once. The idea is to create a relaxing experience that is both reflective of your brand and enjoyable to the customer. Ease of shopping is goal here. Think about how you shop. Which items would you want more information about and which items speak for themselves? Try to anticipate your customers’ needs and satisfy them within the content.

Improve Your Layout

In the last two paragraphs we mentioned how important it is to make use of your space with photos and good content. Now, improve your margins. Catalogs are all about designated space. If someone were to hand you two pieces of bread and a jar of peanut butter, would you spread your peanut butter evenly across, or would you just lump a big spoonful into the center of the bread? By utilizing the space that you have evenly it makes for great eye appeal. Don’t be afraid to use the space you have right to the edges. You want to keep your customers attention on the sheet at all times, so if the eye wanders off the page, you know something needs to be readjusted. You can test this out yourself. Follow your own layout item to item. Did your eye wander away from the book? If your viewer is stuck on the page, what does it matter if the page is an 8.5×11 or 6×9.5?

Forget about inches and start thinking inserts and bind-ins to increase your revenue. Bind-ins are a great way to add more details for your customers. The bind-in, while still a part of your catalog, is set apart from the rest of your content, allowing you to showcase items or add additional content that you really wanted to include, but didn’t have quite enough space for in the the original layout. Some catalogs will use the space for order forms, company history, or to showcase a particular item. Think also, coupons, sales, QR codes to bring your viewer online. The possibilities are unlimited. The best thing you can do is test its success. Either by tracking promotional codes or web traffic from QR codes. Either way, bind-ins are a great way to add additional content to your catalog.

Augmented Reality
There are countless ways to add content to your catalog while maintaining a more economical trim size. Augmented Reality is a good option (see earlier blog post Augmented Reality Welcomes Catalogers to The 21st Century). Think of your catalog like a portal to your website. It is the vehicle by which your consumers travel. If that is true, then why not send them somewhere enjoyable that they will remember and associate with your brand? Augmented reality is a fantastic way to create additional content on a page. For example, if I were selling paintings, but did not have enough space to write about the entire history of an artist, Augmented Reality could come in extremely handy. Think “scan here to learn about the artist.” The scan could bring up a video about the artist (see Five Solid Reasons Why You Should Use Video), or a photograph and biography. When talking about Augmented Reality, there are countless possibilities for adding content to your catalog. None of which involves increasing page size. All the money you save on postage can go towards driving your audience onto the web. What to do after that is another story all together, so tune in!