Catalogue and letterbox advertising has had a bumper couple of years with an enviable reach of almost 20 million Australians annually, but what is next for the sales channel that goes from strength to strength?

Watch for audience segmentation and personalisation.

With 77% of the Australian population engaged in catalogues within a four week period, readership up by 8% and with data showing 70% of customers prefer printed catalogues over 10% for digital, Australia Post research shows the future is strong

ABC’s Gruen expert and advertising industry expert Todd Sampson explains how Aldi uses catalogues as a captivating sales tool in the tough Australian market.

“They’re also referred to in the industry as ‘crack-a-logue’ because everyone’s addicted to them; the retailers and the customers,” says Sampson.

“They do a whole bunch of things really well. Their reach is amazing and the amount of time they stay in the home is remarkable. They stay in your home for weeks. It’s like your ad running over and over again and their influence is remarkable. So, if you have a catalogue in your house there’s a much higher probability of you visiting that shop,” he says.”

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Letterbox advertising is a tried-and-trusted way of connecting with an audience, driving enquiries and sales.

The Australia Post Consumer Survey shows engagement with letterbox advertising remains high (over three quarters of people who receive it read it) and it is also effective at influencing people’s purchase behaviour, leading recipients to ask for more information about a product or make a purchase.

Segmenting audiences with smart printing for real results

Today the most effective print messages are segmented by demographic and targeted appropriately to the actions we want the recipient to take.

From personalisation to custom publishing, each form of print marketing can use the direct mail model for a cost-effective way of reaching a large unqualified market, or be highly personalised if the data has been acquired.

The ability to tailor your print communications to different customer segments is more accessible than ever before. New production and printing technologies have reduced the costs and complexities of versioning beyond just a first name.

“It has evolved to pagination by geography and demographics or image personalisation by gender or audience group,” says Kellie Northwood, CEO Australasian Catalogue Association.

“Retailers now know that to capture their customers’ attention, they must have relevant content,” she says.

“We have seen some retailers reduce the frequency of their print campaigns and this has led to consumers ‘switching off’ or worse turning to another brand. Retailers often don’t realise their mistake for 8-12 weeks when their sales figures drop. To keep your customers engaged, regular and relevant printed communications is key,” Kellie Northwood says.

Other data intelligence driven services also drive better response rates and favourable returns on investment.

Tools such as Householder Database by IPMG and targeted email campaigns using Traction Digital can provide detailed data about potential customers. They empower businesses to cleverly segment the focus of a letterbox campaign for optimal results.

Catalogues, brochures and fliers drive web and foot traffic

Direct website traffic comes through sources such as organic, paid, social and email marketing but offline marketing tactics are also punching above their weight as strong drivers of online traffic.

After reading a catalogue, flier or brochure, 38% of consumers who wanted more information said they would visit the company’s website and 34% are prompted to visit the company’s retail store.

If best practise is employed within the store and knowledgeable staff are employed, retailers will optimise sales conversions rates.

When is the best time for letterbox advertising?

Every marketing plan maps key dates throughout the year with a view for making offers to spur consumer activity.

Consumers use catalogues, fliers and brochures more often for planning Christmas (58%) and birthday purchases (40%), reports Australia Post.

Other traditional shopping periods also see consumers using catalogues, fliers and brochures to inform purchasing decisions:

  • Easter (29%);
  • Father’s Day (30%);
  • Mother’s Day (31%);
  • 61% of Australians agreed that they use catalogues and fliers to locate and purchase items on special offer.

How effective are printed coupons with letterbox campaigns?

Printed coupons are proving extremely effective with more than one third of Australian consumers responding with direct purchases.

Not only do recipients value and use coupons advertisers send them, coupon redemption is an effective way to measure the success of letterbox advertising campaigns.

Australia Post research found one in three Australians used a coupon from a catalogue, flier or brochure to receive a discount on a purchase in store. This is particularly the case amongst those working full time (38%), business owners (41%), older families (39%) and older professionals (42%).

Top three reasons to use Australia Post for letterbox advertising

Dependable: You have a better chance of getting the responses your business needs if you leave it to the professionals for reliable and accurate delivery.

Cut through: Catalogues and fliers delivered with regular postal mail means your material won’t compete with others.

Weather proofing: With Australia Post workers guaranteed access to all letterboxes, your advertising material has a greater chance of being protected from wind and rain.

As an alternative to post, several companies specialise in ‘walker style’ deliveries to letterboxes.

Letterbox stats tell the story of success

  • 83% of Australians brought letterbox advertising straight into the home;
  • 75% of Australians spend at least 20 minutes per week reading catalogues and fliers received in the letterbox;
  • 60% of Australians shared letterbox advertising with another family member;
  • 45% read letterbox advertising immediately;
  • 42% purchased a product or service after reading a catalogue.

Sources: Better connections – How letterbox advertising engages and drives purchasing behaviour, Australia Post, October 2014.There is no doubting the effectiveness of a targeted letterbox campaign for prompting consumer action. Whether it’s a website or store visit, or the fact that catalogues, fliers and brochures are exposed to everyone who visits your home the category has unprecedented reach with strong conversion rates for real sales.

If you would like to know how we can help your business click here to get in touch.

Originally written by Garth Montgomery, Content Specialist for PMP Limited