Editorial: A Catalog Is a Catalog Is a Catalog

Share this content:
Not sure when "catalog" became a bad word, but two companies avoided it while talking about their new marketing efforts.


Buy.com is mailing its self-named "Buy.com Magazine," a 40-page book with more than 250 electronic products for sale. It also features six - yes, six - very short stories relating to the items, as in "Visualize More Workspace With an LCD Monitor" on the page selling computer monitors. The copy reads: "There are several advantages to choosing a CRT model over a flat panel. It all comes down to space, price and usability." Buy.com's Web site and a toll-free number are mentioned throughout the book. That's a magazine?


IKEA, meanwhile, is finishing its summer "brochure," a look into 8 1/2-year-old Katie's journal. The 48-page book is filled with hundreds of products for sale as well as a few notes from Katie on how she spent her summer vacation: "At the end of the summer we have a great summer party on my street. Everyone is invited. We have all kinds of seafood at our clambake. It's so much fun." Almost all of the items are ideal for summertime use - patio furniture, flower pots and the like - and it also sends readers to its Web site and includes a toll-free number. That's a brochure?


Why aren't these companies calling these things what they are? Catalogs. Both fit the definition in Barron's "Dictionary of Marketing Terms," which says a catalog is a "list of items available for purchase with the description and price of each item. ... Toll-free numbers are frequently given for ease of phone-in orders." Though magalog may be a better term for Buy.com's book, as mentioned by the agency that put it together, even that's a stretch, as the stories are there only to serve as a selling tool for the products. Even Abercrombie & Fitch's always-controversial magalog offers more than that.


Admittedly, this has been a painful year for catalogers. Mark, Fore & Strike announced plans last week to shut down its catalog operations. Foster & Gallagher went under last summer. Fingerhut is hanging by a thread. The medium, however, is far from broken and is nothing for marketers to shy away from, even if that was not their intent.
close

Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above