The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved an exigent rate increase that took effect on Jan. 28, raising the price of Standard Mail by 4.3%. For catalogers, that means a total postage increase of 5.9% when the 1.6% increase based on the consumer price index is added in.
But don’t stop the presses just yet: Trends are pointing to an increase in the number of retailers using print catalogs, not the decrease you might expect. 76% of small businesses surveyed by Pitney Bowes said that their ideal marketing strategy involves both print and digital communication. And with so many online retailers competing for customers’ attention, an attractive print catalog can be your way to stand out from the crowd.
Even more compelling is the fact that cutting print marketing can have a noticeably negative impact on sales. And as you probably heard, even some online-only retail giants like Amazon.com issued print catalogs last holiday season.
So what is it that makes print so effective? Start with the fact that print catalogs grab the reader’s attention in a way that still works: 85% of consumers sort through and read their “snail mail” on a daily basis, and 40% will try a new business on the basis of a direct mailing.
Variable printing also increases the efficacy of print catalogs because they can be tweaked and customized to the recipient’s preferences — such as by including coupons for certain products based on the customer’s past purchases.
And the power of print isn’t limited to the page: A tie-in with a social media marketing campaign and/or the inclusion of QR codes (or the newer near-field communication technology) make it easy for consumers to transition from your print marketing to your website, where they can learn more about your products and place an order.
Even with postal rate increases, print catalogs still have a lower cost per impression than the average for online ads. So don’t let the latest postal rate increase deter you from a tried-and-true form of marketing that keeps on proving its worth.