A Cautionary Tale

Humans are tactile beings. We have five senses: hearing, smelling, seeing, tasting, and touching. Good marketers know that one key to reaching people is to engage more than just one of the five human senses with your message.


One problem with advertising using digital mediums is that it often only engages one of the five senses: seeing. Printed advertising, on the other hand, often engage at least two of the senses: seeing and touching. After all, you usually hold printed materials such as catalogs and mailings in your hands.

While print is able to engage more senses, it is often more expensive than digital for advertising. As a result, some companies have begun to do away with various forms of print advertising in an effort to save money. In this shift to the digital medium for advertising, the print catalog has been one of the casualties.

When was the last time you received a Sears catalog in the mail? How about one from JCPenney?

Interestingly, JCPenney (JCP) has recently announced that they are bringing back their print catalog. Five years ago, JCP ditched their printed catalog to focus on advertising more on the Internet. Now, they are switching their tactic and again putting money into a print catalog.

Why? Well, it seems that JCP has data that suggests that its online sales were driven, not by web advertising, but by what shoppers saw in a print catalog.

Publishers can take a lesson from JCP. I know some small publishers who have made the move to digital catalogs only. For those interested in continuing to drive sales of books, I would caution against getting rid of your print catalogs just yet. Large retailers like Ikea, JCP, and ChristianBooks.com know that print catalogs drive sales. That is why these retailers are still using print. So should you.

At Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) we understand the value of print catalogs. That is why we are again producing our annual cooperative product catalog showcasing our member publishers’ products in print format for 2015. We distribute this print catalog to book buyers throughout the United States.

CSPA’s print product catalog is just one of the many affordable marketing benefits we provide our members. You can learn more about what membership in CSPA can do for you and your books on our website by clicking here. If you want to view the 2014 CSPA Product Catalog, you can do so by clicking here.

If you are not yet a member of CSPA but are eligible for membership and want to be part of our 2015 Cooperative Product Catalog, it is not too late. Simply become a member today by clicking here, and we will send you the information on how to be part of the 2015 CSPA Product Catalog.

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1 thought on “A Cautionary Tale

  1. Something essential is indeed lost when you lose the paper — especially with books (or book catalogs).

    The same is true of publicity. When you see your book pushed in a print advertisement or in a local paper, there’s something much more valuable there than if the same organizations had, say, tweeted you.

    Great read.

    Mickie Kennedy


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