Mary Ann Everett has presided over Toy Collection Catalog and consulted with catalogers for 19 years. Contact her for more information about catalog marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org. See a sample specialty toy catalog at www.toycollectionholidaycatalog.com.
Some of the most successful small toy retailers use traditional media to reach their customer base. This may seem counter-intuitive at a time when social media is exploding, ad budgets are tight and many small businesses equate successful marketing with collecting the most email addresses. An estimated 30% of specialty toy stores make direct mail promotions the foundation of their marketing plan, relying on catalogs and flyers to build traffic, drive sales and create customer loyalty. These savvy retailers return to traditional direct mail campaigns year after year because of the big impression their branded mailings produce, the immediate response they generate, and the long-lasting return on their investment.
Toy catalogs are clean, visually appealing and helpful. Oftentimes they also refer customers to the store’s website or Facebook page, but most typically they call for action by bringing customers into the local brick and mortar store. Print promotions distinguish these thriving retailers from their local, national and online competition.
Specialty toy stores in particular benefit from print campaigns because the brands and products they sell are often unknown to the consumers most likely to purchase them. Specialty toys are not typically advertised on television or in mass market circulars. Parents seeking something different for their kids learn about new and classic specialty toys when a specialty retailer mails them a catalog or by visiting the store. Print promotions are non-intrusive and accessible when busy parents want to shop. They benefit from pass-along as catalogs are shared with friends and other household members. Unlike email promotions, kids and grandparents are invited to see the new toys when a catalog arrives, and perhaps negotiate a purchase. Catalogs and flyers often stay in homes for several weeks, giving them a much longer life than the very temporary and often ignored email blasts.
What's the impact of direct mail promotions? Stay tuned for Monday's column.