How brands can reach and engage customers at scale in 2021

Andrew Gasper - Head of New Business, Ovato

Retailers in Australia are facing a unique situation. While the challenges of COVID-19 remain very much front of mind for many businesses and Australian consumers, the retail sector has opportunities for ongoing growth.The national savings rate has increased, which means that Australians are sitting on a lot of cash reserve. Consumer confidence had a big spike in December and in store card spending hit a 9-month high in the same period.

With a working from home model likely to continue for many, the threat of localised lockdown thanks to COVID case spikes, and no overseas travel for the foreseeable future, many consumers in Australia have more money to spend.

If you want to be one of the brands they choose to spend with, it’s important to create meaningful moments with your customers and make it easy for them to shop with you.  With the potential of fewer in-store interactions, you also need to focus your attention on customers at home to reach them at scale.

The letterbox opportunity

Lockdowns, even short localised ones such as the one placed on the Northern Beaches over Christmas and New Year, have found people at home more.

This has made it essential to reach people via the letterbox. According to the Guardian, traditional high street retailers and retail websites in the UK turned to catalogues in the run in to Christmas as a way of reaching shoppers stuck at home.

The article quotes Beth Butterwick, CEO at fashion retailer Jigsaw, who explained that catalogues are a “brilliant way of keeping a brand front of mind during lockdown,” as “on average, people will spend three or six minutes on a website, but a catalogue or direct mail can lie on a coffee table for a month to six weeks.”

Impact and effectiveness

Butterwick’s claims are backed up in Australia by recent Roy Morgan and JICMail research.
According to Roy Morgan, 12.6 million Australians have read a catalogue over the last four weeks and 9.8 million Australians have looked at one in the last seven days.

Even more impressively, 5.7 million Australians have purchased from a catalogue over the last four weeks and a 70 per cent of online shoppers have read a catalogue over the same time frame.

A new approach to print

Catalogues don’t just reach your audience; they have an impact when they do.

They are a subconscious indicator of authority and trust, increasing brand recall and purchase inclination. Importantly, we’re in a different era of print in 2021. Audience segmentation, social sharing, A/B split testing, and accurate measurement were digital first tactics but are now easily applicable to print media and make sure you’re getting the most value from your marketing investment. 

According to Accenture’s ‘Mail’s Role in The Digital Age’ report commissioned by Australia Post,  “automation combines the power of digital marketing with mail. Data, combined with sophisticated marketing technology and digital printing capabilities, provides organisations with greater power than ever before to produce highly targeted and personalised mail.

Brands can use catalogues to amplify their message, align with their online audience, measure and optimise and get experimental with print, all of which complements their online output.

And by applying digital insights to print catalogues, you also gain the benefits of scale combined with the power of data-driven targeting.

A bright future

Catalogues and print integrate effectively with your other channels, and it’s part of why they continue to be so effective. For example, QR codes drive offline readers to online purchases. Likewise, an integrated marketing campaign that’s seen by audiences on print in the home as well as online or via social media, will have a greater chance of retention.

And catalogues of course provide “serendipitous insight” – that flash of inspiration as you turn a page, see a beautifully shot image of a product, and decide in that instant to make a purchase. The physicality and vividness of print makes it appealing to a different way of thinking, and that’s something that can’t be recreated by any other channel.

By thinking digitally and applying data and experimentation to print, catalogues will allow your brand to take full advantage of constantly changing real world circumstances by reaching customers where they live.