Why Catalogs Work and How They Are an Effective Communication Tool

Catalogs are still an effective marketing tool, even in today’s growing digital marketplace. Catalogs also have many applications beyond the most common use of mail order.

This guide will discuss some of the benefits to using catalogs as part of a marketing strategy.

Mail Order Catalogs

A catalog is a list of products and services that a business offers through mail order. A mail-order catalog contains merchandise from a company known as a cataloger. A cataloger publishes the catalog and operates the mail-order business.

They may also manufacture the products themselves or buy them from another company. The cataloger then uses the catalog to market the products to prospective customers. Companies publish catalogs in a similar manner to other magazines. They then distribute their catalogs through a variety of methods, including the postal service and internet.

Catalogers often buy customer names from a broker or cooperative databases. This strategy is most common for businesses that are focusing on growing their customer base. A buyer places an order for products in a catalog through some method, usually a telephone call or website.

The cataloger then delivers the product, usually to the address that the customers provide. This address may be the customer’s own home address or the address of a third party. In some cases, the cataloger sends the product to a nearby retail location, where the customer picks it up.

The primary advantage of sending a product to a retail store is to reduce the shipping costs.

Catalogs in Supermarkets

Supermarkets may utilize catalogs to promote their products, even though they don’t actually deliver them by mail. These types of catalogs typically include coupons or promotion codes that customers can use to receive a discount on products.

Supermarkets can also use printed catalogs to drive customers to their website. Customers can add discounts to their account on the website. The customer then receives the discount automatically by scanning their membership card at the point of sale.

Catalogs as Portfolios

Some types of catalogs such as a portfolio don’t advertise items that are for sale. A portfolio displays examples of a person’s work, like:

  • authors
  • photographers
  • graphic designers and other artists

These professionals often self-publish collections of their existing work in catalog format. This strategy allows artists to present their work to prospective clients. Portfolios are particularly beneficial when the original work no longer exists.