Did Cataloger Test Lifestyle Shift Before Rollout?Regarding the article on Cheryl & Co's shift to the lifestyle approach for their catalog covers , I hope for their sake that these folks tested covers before their rollout!
Reasons for testing are many, but in my own history of testing many covers for many clients, with children and lifestyle versions versus product orientation, I have only once beaten a product-oriented cover with a lifestyle or child on the cover - and it was for educational software.
For all others in food, collectibles, gifts, etc., the product on the cover proved to be king, and in fact the product covers beat the lifestyle covers by at least 4 to 1. Count it in dollars, folks. Everyone on the marketing team was disappointed (hey, we all love photos of kids and lifestyle), but these catalogs did enjoy higher response because we pre-tested. (I should specify that, of course, kids clothing needs kids on the cover ... but the rest?) Test, and find out. Your success, and your survival, depends on it.
Carol Worthington Levy, Creative director, Worthington Levy Creative