The most fascinating talk I heard at the recent NEMOA conference was that by industry veteran Kevin Hillstrom of MineThatData. The eye-opening presentation offered a completely new take on multi-channel marketing. The hundreds of catalogers in attendance were nodding their heads in agreement, acknowledging how Kevin’s view resonated with their own experience.
Titled How Traditionals (Judy), Transitionals (Jennifer) and Transformationals (Jasmine) Shape the Future of Catalog Marketing, the talk crystalized current and future changes in catalog marketing through the use of three personas. Here’s just a brief summary of this very insightful presentation:
Judy, the 59-year-old diehard catalog shopper is the core customer for most of us. Catalog shopping is practically a hobby for her. The more catalogs you send her, the more she buys. Discounts are nice, but not essential to her purchase. And yes, she’s on Facebook, but she’s not there to shop; she’s there to keep up with her grandkids.
Jennifer, 43 years old, grew up in an online world. She loves her iPad, and responds well to email marketing. For her, catalogs are a source of inspiration, a jumping off point. When a catalog product captures her imagination, she goes online to search for the best deal. She won’t buy without free shipping, and looks for bargains on top of that. Your catalog might trigger a purchase, but it won’t necessarily be from your company.
Jasmine, 27 years old, lives in a mobile world. Her smartphone is more important to her than her car. She’s an unlikely catalog shopper. Instead, her shopping is likely to be driven by Facebook, Twitter, flash sales, and word of mouth.
What does this mean for the future of catalog marketing? Here’s a summary of Kevin’s thoughts on that score:
• Our job is to maximize profits from Judy for the next 5 to 10 years. That’s likely to mean mailing her more catalogs, and modifying our merchandise mix as she ages. Most of us know how to market to Judy; we simply need to recognize that we’re facing a limited window of opportunity.
• It’s critical that we figure out how to market to Jennifer. With her insistence on free shipping and discounts, plus her limited brand loyalty, we can’t afford to send her an endless stream of catalogs. Fewer mailings, smaller catalogs, and an emphasis on products that appeal to her are key. Most importantly, we need to convince Jennifer that we’re delivering the best value on the best products.
• Marketing to Jasmine may be an uphill battle for many of us. A small percentage of Jasmines may be catalog buyers, but most are not. By the time Jasmine has significant buying power, new marketing strategies are likely to have evolved. Over the next decade, the great bulk of our profits will come from Judy and Jennifer.
With apologies to Kevin, this is an oversimplified summary of a very rich presentation. You can read much more on the subject on Kevin’s blog and/or email him for a copy of his NEMOA talk. His views rang true with nearly everyone I spoke with at the conference. I hope you find them as insightful as I did.