In a recent article, entitled “Direct Marketing Catalogs Are Out of Control” published by Advertising Age, Michael Fernandez, CEO of Factory 360, wrote that print catalogs were outdated – “So stop printing them and join the digital age.”

The fact is, integrated marketing in the“digital age” includes catalog and print as components of a successful marketing mix, as much as it does digital and social channels.  Characterizing catalogs as “out of control” is a gross oversimplification, and calling for repeal of all catalogs is an irresponsible suggestion. Today’s data-driven marketers still produce catalogs and deploy direct mail campaigns for a simple reason – it works.  Yes, even for some Millennial audiences.

We agree that catalogs should be properly segmented and used appropriately to deliver the most relevant materials to the right audience – just as you would with other channels.

Nevertheless, the proven potential for boosting sales and increasing return-on-investment has brought new interest in print catalogs. Indeed, some retailers, who until recently have operated primarily online, are today entering the catalog fray, including Bonobos, the menswear brand built on the idea of better-fitting pants.  And many traditional store retailers with a history of catalogs remain as committed as ever.

It’s important to remember that it’s not a case of print vs. digital.  Rather, each channel, employed properly, can give a powerful boost to all the other methods used in a campaign.   Today’s sophisticated marketers keep emotion out of the decision-making process and allow the numbers to indicate how best to invest their marketing dollars”  And every marketer should be working to optimize their efforts across all channels – including print – to create the most powerful mix for ultimate success.

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