Professionals who claim that the print industry is dead haven't seen how well digital catalogs fare on the Internet. The tangible direct marketing technique may be forced to coexist with the digital sphere, but this by no means is indicative of irrelevance. Instead of giving up on them, marketers should be in the process of rethinking how to make their tangible, paper-based materials stand the test of time and stand out versus the competition. Where many are abandoning catalogs altogether, your business can be the one to reap all the benefits of this age-old technique.

Asserting the importance of catalogs today
Forbes contributor and marketing professional Lois Geller wrote on the strange perceived death of the catalog and why it is still relevant, citing her own industry experience as a calling card.

"Our agency puts out a quarterly magazine for a western Canadian client," the source expanded. "A recent survey of readers asked how they'd feel if the magazine became an online e-zine. There was a near revolt: 95 percent loudly preferred the printed version."

The statistic, taken in 2012, speaks for itself. Though sending mail-in orders is no longer highly popular, mail-in catalogs actually drive traffic to online stores, just one way that print and e-commerce can work hand in hand to drive sales.

BusinessWeek writer Kyle Stock wrote a piece that completely supported the continuation of the tangible direct marketing techniques. The contributor explained that sending catalogs, unlike online advertising on social media that is often ignored, is a solid technique for those who are looking to cast a wide net in terms of customer targeting. dissimilar to fleeting pop-ups and the often frustrating presence of ads online, customers can feel empowered by their ability to control receiving catalogs – while one can't stop the inundation of materials on the Web, one can cancel a catalog subscription any time they wish.

"Deep data have ensured that Victoria's Secret isn't canvassing the homes of single men, for example," the source explained. "Catalogs have also gotten more interesting: Williams-Sonoma includes recipes; so does Crate and Barrel."

Provide incentive to pick up a catalog
In spite of these endorsements for printed ads, there's no ignoring the fact that the number of catalogs that each American household receives has decreased consistently in the past 10 years. Granted, according to BusinessWeek, the average annual receiving rate for a home still hovers somewhere around 100 issues, but this doesn't need to be bad news for your company.

Instead, view reduced catalog circulation as an opportunity – as long as a business knows its customer and their interests, printed marketing can succeed. The concept of added value in the form of recipes, articles or interviews with industry professionals could potentially motivate a reluctant fan of e-commerce to pick an issue up, as well as engaging social media. By using graphics and encouraging readers to post items of interest on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, two birds can be killed with one stone.

Like anything marketing-related in today's advertisement-saturated culture, brand awareness is the easiest shortcut to success. Catalog on with your demographic in mind, and you'll be sure to see the sales roll in.