Print marketing, magazines, and catalogs are making a comeback in 2023 and beyond, but the strategies for these formats look very different than they did years ago. Here’s an inside look at what trends are rising to the top and catching the eye of today’s consumers.
Brands looking to make their mark are finding significant differentiation in the look and feel of their catalogs and print media by opting for all kinds of binding.
On the one hand, some brands use hand-sewn binding to evoke a feeling of something unique and handcrafted; recipients of these catalogs can get the sense that they are lucky to have come across something so rare. On the other hand, a sewn binding feels as though artisans handled it and gives off the sense of the culture and history of a brand. In many cases, this can help establish a strong connection between the brand and the consumer. Post Press Magazineeven suggests selecting contrasting threads to highlight this feature.
Brands wishing to share their unique history, artistry, and attention to detail are choosing sewn binding more and more frequently lately.
Conversely, other brands are choosing high-end binding. With this option, their print media can feel just as memorable. Instead of the handcrafted feel of sewn binding, high-end binding makes a catalog or printed marketing magazine feel like a coffee table book; it’s a piece that’s meant to be savored and cherished.
For this kind of hard-case binding, the case might be covered in some material or even embellished with hot foil stamping. Another popular binding trend making the rounds today is Swiss binding, in which the text block is glued to the outside back cover so that, from the outside, the catalog looks like a casebound book. Upon opening a Swiss-bound magazine, the spine is revealed and may be sewn or saddle stitched.
For brands looking to put luxury on display, high-end binding options are an extra element to make the tactile experience of leafing through a catalog or magazine feel more personal to the brand identity.
An increasing number of consumers crave personalization from their user experiences, marketing, digital environments, and more. Forbes shared that 80 percent of today’s consumers only shop with brands that provide a personalized experience.
It is – at a quickening pace. Personalized content is more important than ever before. This kind of custom printing means having the solutions to craft countless customized experiences in the same publication. That means:
Understanding your audience’s needs, wants, and priorities, as well as what they find motivating or engaging.
Having the tools on hand to keep your workflow and collaboration flexible and agile while keeping track of customer needs as they evolve.
Creating a magazine with the experience in mind, balancing large-scale appeal with personal touches.
Post Press Magazine quickly points out that nobody wants to receive irrelevant marketing materials like coupons, catalogs, or emails. Personalization today enables brands to take custom printing beyond just mail merges with solutions like variable data printing, supported by a robust pool of customer data and detailed analytics.
Adding Some Luster with Foil
Many brands lately are choosing to enhance their catalogs and magazines with the metallic sheen of foil stamping and printing. This trendy option can make catalogs feel sleek, modern, and upscale.
You’re not wrong if you feel like you’ve seen shimmer and foil for a while now. But, of course, foil stamping has been popular for quite some time. Still, with new print technologies emerging and becoming more accessible, a whole new range of options is available to enhance magazines and catalogs with a touch of extra luster.
Thanks to these new print technologies, popularity and interest in this glamorous look have been resurgent. Foil printing and stamping options include hot and cold foil, metalized substrates, and digital foil.
The result? No matter your budget or price point, you can add an element of sheen and shimmer to your next printing to make a strong brand statement and catch the eye of your target audience.
Offline Media to Invite Your Audiences Online
There’s nothing like the feeling of leafing through an artfully designed magazine or catalog, but what’s the next step? Tactile experiences are meaningful, but how can you continue to keep your audiences engaged?
Print catalogs and magazines can significantly impact sales—even for eCommerce brands. In fact, 57 percent of consumers prefer print catalogs over their digital counterparts. Moreover, 69 percent of consumers have paged through a printed catalog for information before purchasing online.
In other words, print media is still relevant to boosting sales in our digital marketplace. Even so, magazines and catalogs today are essential tools brands can use to invite their customers online, where you can collect consumer data, reinvigorate marketing efforts, and help solve their problems in new ways. Some of the trend’s brands are using to encourage their catalog-loving customers to go online include:
QR codes to take customers to a direct page or even make a direct purchase
Image recognition apps to pull up product information without QR codes
Including website URLs and links on each page
Printing contact information and website information clearly on the back cover
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Learn how Lowe’s automated their retail circular ad production for in-store and digital marketing agility
Household names like NASA, GoPro, Airbnb, and Bonobos use visual storytelling to build an emotional connection with their audiences. Bonobos, in particular, has leaned into the storytelling surrounding the lifestyle of their brand, centering their storytelling around golf.
After sharing the design philosophy and love for the heritage of gold early in the catalog, the following pages are all devoted to linking the golf lifestyle to their clothing, even shooting the photos in an actual golf club and displaying images of active golf swings from page to page.
The result? Their customers see the product in action. They experience the story behind the clothes and the life they could live while wearing them, not just the clothes themselves.
Becoming One with Nature
In a time when 75 percent of millennials say that they would pay more for a brand that centers around sustainability, an increasing number of brands are putting their efforts on display, making nature a core element of their print media messaging.
This means wood grain texture, earthy colors, and natural elements are heavily incorporated into the design, celebrating and appreciating the planet. This all-natural trend is showing up everywhere, from interior design to fashion and merchandising, and the popularity of this concept is showing up in print and catalog marketing.
Not only does the prevalence of natural elements suggest a commitment to sustainability and love for the earth, but these elements are also timeless, elegant, and aspirational for true nature lovers and would-be outdoorsy types alike.
Unique Discounts from Cover to Cover
Emails and newsletters are still popular ways to market to customers, target new audiences, and track consumer activities. Still, marketers are finding ways to follow behaviors and appeal to deal-seeking shoppers through catalogs and magazines.
To get the most out of catalogs and magazines, marketers place unique discount codes within the pages of their print media. The benefits are twofold:
They motivate casual shoppers to make a purchase online.
They gather invaluable marketing information to discover their marketing materials’ performance.
This strategy is a great way to discern what actions real customers are taking and their preferences. With this direct feedback, you can make data-driven predictions about what products and services your customers are interested in.
When promoting your brand, your choices are a statement of your focus on quality, so your brand stands out from the competition. These choices include everything from the quality of your logo and pictures, ensuring they aren’t blurry and pixelated, to how print media is bound. And when it comes to print, quality also includes your choice of paper: the texture, weight, feel, and sheen of it.
It’s estimated that the average American consumer receives 41 pounds of unsolicited mail every year – per person. The result of all this mail? Unfortunately, these print catalogs and magazines feel like an afterthought and are often discarded or recycled immediately. But quality print media speaks to the quality of the brand. It feels good and inspires recipients to flip through the pages more.
Comosoft: Keeping You Current
LAGO by Comosoft is a marketing automation tool that makes it simpler than ever to foster a collaborative workflow (in real-time), store data and assets in a single, secure repository accessible from anywhere, and manage everything from print marketing to point-of-sale in the same place.
With LAGO, creating print magazines and catalogs is easy and efficient, saving you time and money that you can invest in things like paper quality, foil printing, binding, and more. In addition, by collaborating in real-time, your media can be as up to date as desired, empowering you to stay ahead of the latest print marketing trends.