The high volume of catalogs I receive has always irritated me, but after doing a series of interviews with printers who have installed the new generation of high-speed inkjet presses (those capable of producing commercial quality color), they irritate me even more. It’s time to stop sending bulk catalogs — period.
I’m one of those people who only shops in catalogs once per year. I shop catalogs at Christmas when I’m looking for something different for family or friends. I sit down at the end of November and early December, place my orders, and then throw away every catalog I receive from that point on until the following November.
I am very consistent. I do it every year.
I’m also consistent in something else. I don’t buy luggage from catalogs. I don’t buy men’s shoes. I don’t buy tools. But I do buy jewelry, children’s educational toys, and electronic gadgets. Why are these companies wasting paper sending me information on hundreds of items I have never bought through catalogs and never will?
If it’s because it’s been most cost-effective to send undifferentiated catalogs than to print targeted ones, those days are over. It’s time to improve ROI through more effective use of their lists and stop hogging up the landfills while they are at it.
Maybe it wasn’t cost-effective to create slimmer, targeted catalogs even a few years ago, or perhaps the quality wasn’t there, but it is today. It’s time somebody told them so.