Educators Prefer Catalogs for Info, Buying

Catalogs were educators' preferred source for obtaining new product information as well as ordering instructional materials and school supplies, according to a survey by education data provider Market Data Retrieval, a Dun & Bradstreet company.

Of the educators surveyed, 65.8 percent said that publisher or manufacturer catalogs were the No. 1 source for new product information. And 60.8 percent said that such catalogs were their preferred source for ordering instructional materials and school supplies.

Other sources of information such as word of mouth (40.2 percent) and school stores (24.8 percent) trailed catalogs as did other methods of purchasing like school stores (37.4 percent) and local dealers (19.2 percent).

The survey also offered marketers insight into some aspects of reaching educators with catalogs.

When sending catalogs to school address, more than three-fourths of teachers said that the books were more likely to reach teachers if addressed by name as opposed to by subject area. Only 1.3 percent said that title addressing was more effective, and 21.9 percent said it didn't matter.

The majority of respondents, 63.1 percent, said they keep education-related catalogs for the duration of the school year or until an updated version arrives.

Educators also said they prefer to receive education-related mailings at school instead of at home. A 58.6 percent majority said they do not like to receive such mailings at home.

However, 66.1 percent said they also buy products for personal use from consumer catalogs frequently.

Of 14,000 questionnaires mailed April 9, 987 teachers and principals at U.S. elementary and secondary schools completed the survey in time for the May 3 deadline. The questionnaire was developed by MDR and Education Market Research, which analyzed the results.

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