The Print Catalog Heard 'Round the (Social Media) World

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Chic furniture brand Z Gallerie experiments with direct mail and inadvertently fires up its social media fans.

Marketers for chic furniture brand Z Gallerie say that more than anything they want to stand out from the competition. But to do that they needed more than a run-of-the-mill strategy—a unique plan that didn't lean on just one digital channel, but rather one that encourages customer interactions where shoppers are.

“All of our marketing channels are vehicles that reinforce and magnify each other,” says Loren Mattia, social media specialist for Z Gallerie. Today a number of marketers are investing more heavily in digital channels—social media, display ads, or email messages. In fact a recent DMA report shows that 80% of marketers plan to increase their digital budgets in the coming year. Mattia says, however, that marketers at Z Gallerie wanted to differentiate themselves from those busy social media feeds and crowded inboxes.

The power of print

While searching for the right strategy, the team at Z Gallerie recognized the tangible connections that people have when shopping for furniture. Z Gallerie has nearly 60 stores across the United States, and as a result physical connections are simply part of the experience. “The majority of our brand perception exists offline and in our stores, yet we have an incredibly powerful and engaged social audience as well—especially on Instagram,” Mattia continues. “We're always [looking for] new and exciting ways to bring our offline customers into the social experience and vice versa.”

So marketers for Z Gallerie worked to design an immersive experience with the April launch of #PagesofStyle—a campaign with several moving parts that mixes the power of print with the impact of digital.

In November Z Gallerie released its fall/winter catalog with vividly colorful pictures that gave shoppers a tangible way to interact with the brand, even if they weren't in the stores.

But here's the kicker: The company's direct mail initiative didn't serve as just an in-home message; it created social buzz, too.

“[We] saw that customers were snapping Instagram photos of our premier catalog on their coffee tables and even going to lengths to style a photo with our catalog as the focal point,” Mattia explains. “So, we decided to capitalize on it as a means to merge a more tangible and traditional experience with a digital experience.”

Using tools from social analytics platform Curalate, the Z Gallerie team crafted #PagesofStyle, an integrated user-generated content campaign that optimized a love for print, promoted social media sharing, and encouraged UGC that featured the brand.

Through July, Z Gallerie is encouraging catalog subscribers to share photos on Instagram and tag them with #PagesofStyle. In fact, Z Gallerie is using its back cover real estate on the brand's catalog to invite customers to show off their style on Instagram—coupled with the brand's printed pages, of course. Each month one winner receives a $250 Z Gallerie gift card.

“The main goal was to leverage organic excitement on Instagram [that would] drive catalog sign-ups and brand awareness,” Mattia says. “To drive awareness, we used all of our marketing channels; we featured it in email, on our homepage, on social, and in our physical catalogs. We partnered with six influencers and superfans to get involved in the campaign to get some social buzz from the get-go.”

In fact, he says that #PagesofStyle has by far the largest reach of any social campaign that Z Gallerie has run this year: “One month into the campaign, we saw a 26% increase in catalog sign-ups and a 17% increase in branded user-generated content. Reach of the campaign at one month in was close to seven million.”

Not surprisingly, the marketing team at Z Gallerie says that they're already looking for even more ways to merge online and offline channels. “It's all about providing as many opportunities as possible to engage your customers,” Mattia says. “It's so important that we're innovative and on the cutting edge. Incorporate as many channels as you have access to that make sense for your brand. In doing so, you have the potential to reach the most customers.”


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