When I critique a client’s catalog design, I don’t discuss with them color palettes, branding or eye flow. I talk about what drives response. We can all be subjective about what we do and don’t like creatively in a catalog, but it is tough to argue about what drives response.
If the cataloger is eager to make changes and improve, I review with the client my list of “Bill’s 21 Indisputable Creative and Merchandise Rules”. But when there is a significant problem, and the catalog’s creative is causing response to stagnate, I distill those 21 rules down to the Crucial Six.
One of the Crucial Six is “Don’t Be Afraid To Sell”. Over and over I see mailers throw a bunch of similar products on a page, with no thought given to helping the customers determine what is best for them. Don’t assume your customer has the same knowledge of, interest in, or love of your products that you do. For consumers that don’t know your brand, you have to create that love with every mailing, and every email. For existing customers, you have to re-kindle that love for your “stuff” with every catalog.
In short – you’ve got to sell them! In creative terms, that means going beyond a simple “hero shot” presentation, and going for the “WOW” presentation.
I wrote earlier this year about how yoga pants have become ubiquitous apparel accessories for most women – to the point of where they have almost become a commodity. Below are three presentations from mainstream catalogs. Which of the three succeeded in creating a “WOW” presentation?
Athleta’s presentation is boring – they are simply selling commodities at this point.
As you would expect from Land’ End, even with this small image above, you can sense they are defining benefits for each product. Lands’ End is good at that. But is still not “Wow”.
In my opinion, only Title Nine achieved the “WOW” presentation. Why? Because they were not afraid to sell. Instead of trying to treat all the pants the same, they picked one pair to highlight /emphasize, and in the process, they raised the level of awareness of the other pairs as well. They also had a more limited, and more targeted assortment.
You are in a competitive environment. You want to believe that your customers love you so much that you don’t need to sell. You believe they love and understand your product as much as you do. THEY DON’T. They need to be sold – with every catalog, on every product. Don’t be afraid to sell. Go for the WOW.
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by Bill LaPierre
VP – Business Intelligence and Analytics
Datamann – 800-451-4263 x235