The real hero of retail reach: building brand equity through tangible media
Earlier this month we shared the first of the key findings of the newly launched Australasian Catalogue Association (ACA) Industry Report. Here we delve more deeply into some of the ways in which the letterbox channel continues to shine as a valuable part of the marketing mix.
Building brand equity
For retailers, it’s all about building brand equity and positioning yourself front-of-mind when it comes to a consumer’s potential consideration set. It’s not news that the amount of ‘noise’ across all advertising channels has increased; consumers have more options to choose from, and brands are having to work harder than ever to cut through.
When it comes to meaningful marketing metrics, it’s all about ‘reach’ – the number of eyeballs exposed to, and absorbing, your message. As consumption habits around traditional newspaper, television and radio change and readers, viewers and listeners decline, reach for catalogues remains steady.
According to the ACA Report, audience reach for mailers in New Zealand is 3.88 million, which is higher than the reach of any other media, online or offline. After all, we still need to check our letterboxes, even if we can skip ads online, fast-forward on television and opt for commercial-free broadcasting options.
Despite the rapid changes in the media sphere and seismic shifts in consumer behaviour, the key ingredients necessary to cut through the noise and become a key player in a consumer’s consideration set haven’t changed… We only have so much mental space with which to consider purchases, so a targeted communication, delivered to the right person, in the right place, at the right time, and with the right deal remains the most effective way to get the job done. Frequency also plays a significant role in the quest for repeat patronage.
Big data has been a key trend in business over recent years and the land of catalogues is no exception. Improved targeting has replaced the days of “spray and pray” methods and has meant that less catalogue units are able to achieve better results - and that more niche retailers are entering, and achieving great success in, the letterbox game.
Letterbox plays well with others
From a brand’s point of view, mailers remain an especially cost-effective channel as part of an integrated marketing programme. If unaddressed mail was to receive a report card, it would likely read: ‘consistently high performer’ - with increasing industry volumes, strong readership levels year-on-year, and top rankings as the most useful media for making purchasing decisions across 20 of the 28 market segments.
It’s a valuable tool in the toolbox for retailers and can be used together with other channels to create a customer-focused marketing campaign that builds a strong brand connection and increases sales. The ACA Report found that 79% of consumers have purchased something after seeing it advertised in unaddressed mail, while 48% of consumers often visit a website following a prompt by a catalogue.
In the digital, online environment, reach is hard to measure. Digital advertising can be subject to dubious targeting and it’s hard to really know whose clicks you are paying for. Conversely, tangible media, that which we hold in our hands, is still a measurable and consistent medium. Not only is it among the most positively regarded advertising channels, it is also reaching the hands of the people we most need to see it.
According to ACA, ‘Main Household Shoppers with kids’ in New Zealand are 15 times more likely to have read unaddressed mail in the last month. It remains the case that this captive consumer group prefer catalogues – being 46 times more likely to say that catalogues are their preferred way to hear about sales and promotions, and 37 times more likely to say that they are their preferred way to hear about new products and services.
In the quest for reach among retailers, and the competition to conquer a consumer’s consideration set, tangible marketing - that which is achieved through direct and unaddressed mail - is still an effective, and necessary, part of the marketing mix.