6 Catalog Pitfalls That Are Costing You

Catalog Mistakes to Avoid

You spend a lot of time setting up your product catalog, putting together a mailing list and sending it out. Despite your efforts, you get a lackluster reaction in return and may even end up with a negative ROI. What went wrong with your campaign? Most likely, it was some of the following catalog mistakes:

1. Not Emphasizing Benefits

Start with your product descriptions. Does the copy spend a lot of time going over the feature list? Your customers want to learn about the value it brings into their lives, so focus on the benefits of your items and the problems that your products solve. You can talk about relevant features after you get their undivided attention.

2. Inconsistency Between Channels

If potential customers go to your website after looking through the catalog, do they immediately recognize it as belonging to your company? Differences in writing styles, colors and other elements may cause confusion. You want your branding to stay the same for customers as they proceed on their journey. Establish trust and awareness at each step with consistency.

3. Lack of Information

Do you include enough information for customers to make an informed decision? Compare your descriptions to common buyer inquiries. If you don’t address common objections, then revise your copy. Bring in staff from marketing, sales and customer support to see whether you hit the mark on the new text.

4. Poor-Quality Photos

Your catalog often acts as the first buyer touchpoint. These prospects haven’t interacted with your company or know much about your products. They need great photos to go alongside your descriptions since they can’t hold your wares in person. Make sure that you get clear, crisp images that show off the relevant features.

5. Lack of Testing

Marketing-analytics solutions are a commonplace tool for digital campaigns, but many companies drop the ball when it comes to tracking and testing direct mail. Try variations of your catalog and go through several optimization rounds rather than creating a single version and calling it “good.”

6. No Agility

Your market has its attention turned entirely on a specific product category. You offer these items, but your catalog-creation process is so cumbersome that making rapid changes is nearly impossible. Look for ways to streamline your workflow so that you can stay on top of sudden disruptions as your niche evolves.

Your catalog can act as a powerful tool to bring in new customers, encourage repeat buyers and build your brand awareness. Keep an eye out for these common catalog pitfalls when you put together your next piece because they could end up costing you big time.

How Catsy can Help

With Catsy you spend less time updating your catalog and fixing catalog mistakes. Catsy links your product information stored in Catsy Product Information Management to your catalog so you can automate creation using InDesign or publish in just clicks. For more information on streamlining your catalog and product information management efforts signup for a demo at http://catsy.com/contact-us

Sources:

http://www.marketingtoday.com/DirectMail/dmmistak.htm

http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/3889-How-to-Take-Gorgeous-Product-Photos

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/product-descriptions-that-sell/

6 Ways to Ace Your First Quarter as a Marketing Manager

New Marketing Manager?

Congratulations! You’re a marketing manager at a new company, or you just got promoted into the role at your current organization. Use these tips to get off on the right foot and ace your first quarter.

1. Learn About Your Audience

How well do you know the company’s audience? Take the time to learn everything there is to know about your ideal prospects. If you have access to the customer service department, talk with some of the front-line employees and learn about the most common calls as well.

2. Understand the Company’s Story

What makes your organization unique? Today’s marketing campaigns rely heavily on brand storytelling. You want to get as much detail about the company’s key employees, its history, its values and all the other information that set it apart.

3. Take a Top-Down View of Current Marketing Efforts

What situation are you walking into when you get started as a marketing manager? Audit campaigns, look through asset libraries and touch base with the stakeholders to learn more about their big picture goals.

4. Connect With Your Team

It takes time to build up a rapport with your team, but you want to get started right away. Set up one-on-one and group meetings to discover the interpersonal dynamics at play, observe work habits and get a grasp on everyone’s specialties.

5. Stick to the Schedule

You spend a lot of time learning systems, getting introduced to the cross-department contacts working with you on marketing projects and finding your place at the head of your team. Plan to meet the expected deadlines rather than attempting to make your mark through speed. No one expects you to get everything done before these timelines, so focus on quality and doing things right.

6. Explore the Data

You have access to a significant amount of marketing data, from your team’s performance to the CTR of the last campaign. Pull together reports to identify the strong and weak points inherent in the marketing department, potential areas to address and overall trends.

You have a lot to juggle as a marketing manager, but this advice will help you survive your first quarter and position yourself for many more to come. Keep your eyes open for every learning opportunity that comes your way, and figure out how you add value to the organization. Before long, you’ll end up being the person known for being an excellent product manager.

Sources:

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/marketing-lessons-students-slideshare

http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/using-marketing-analytics-to-drive-superior-growth

What Truly Divides the Best Sales Reps From the Pack

The Best Sales Reps

Your best sales reps sit at the top of the charts, towering high above everyone else on the list. They get the same resources as the rest of your team, but they do so much more with it. What separates them from your middle of the road people?

Follow-Ups

Your top team members follow up at every opportunity. They don’t let leads and prospects fall through the cracks due to inattention. Particularly enterprising sales reps may work with automated follow-ups in the customer relationship management application.

Personal Goals

The regular sales quota isn’t enough for this group. They set their own personal goals so they’re always moving forward. They look for new ways to optimize their selling techniques and invest time into the self-improvement of their skills.

Listening

Some people listen only long enough to know when it’s their turn to talk about their opinion. The best sales reps give prospects their full attention and absorb what they’re saying. They only speak when they have valuable input to add to the conversation or a clarifying question for the lead.

Understanding

What does the prospect struggle with? People outside the top performers’ circle may go down a memorized list of pain points or typical problems. The best reps consider each unique situation and gain an in-depth understanding of the customer.

Adaptable

Sticking to a script doesn’t get you very far in sales, and the top performers know that. They are ready to change up their presentation on the fly, whether the customer changed their mind completely or has a new development in their needs.

Nurturing

Prospects typically take some time to make purchase decisions after entering the sales funnel. Your best sales people know that this process requires patience. They don’t have to rush since they’re already well ahead of the average quota, so they can give the prospect the resources and support they need to make a decision.

Internal Sales representatives are the lifeblood of your business. You depend on their work for positive growth and increased revenue. These key attributes can help your team improve their performance and join the folks at the top.

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239465

http://under30ceo.com/how-to-become-a-great-sales-representative/

10 Qualities of the Ideal Product Marketer

The Ideal Product Marketer

An ideal product marketer knows how to get people excited about your products. They play a fundamental role in your outreach strategy, from coordinating with multiple teams to understanding the big picture behind a marketing strategy. When you’re looking for the ideal candidate for this position, keep these essential qualities in mind.

  1. Persuasive.
    You want a prospective employee to have the communication skills necessary to encourage a passion for your products.

  2. Detail Oriented.

    Multiple departments and teams need to work with the product marketer, so you need someone who can juggle lots of information effectively.

  3. Empathetic.

    An important part of this job involves getting inside the customer’s head and fully understanding their perspective. What type of solution are they looking for, which problems need to be solved and how does the product help?

  4. Team Player.

    Your ideal candidate needs to operate within a team productively. The product marketer speaks with stakeholders throughout the organization and supports other staff when needed.

  5. Pain Point Identification.

    Identifying and understanding the audience’s pain points allows your ideal product marketer to tailor messages for each market segment.

  6. Data-Driven.

    Today’s marketing solutions use data to optimize campaigns, discover the most effective messages and pick the best channel mix. A data-driven prospect understands the importance of this information and how to apply it to a project.

  7. Opportunity Discovery.

    Product marketers keep their eyes open for new promotional avenues, such as a well-read blog covering your niche or an in-person event that creates high engagement levels.

  8. Great People Skills.

    Staff members holding this position need to effectively communicate with other people, whether they’re external partners, customers or team members.

  9. Content Creation Facilitation.

    Product marketers often get called upon to create content directly or to guide their team into producing useful materials.

  10. Curious and Creative.

    You want potential employees to spend a lot of time asking “why” in this job position. They should have a curiosity that drives them to learn more about your customers, and the creativity to use these insights for outside the box strategies.

The ideal product manager for your company has a strong influence on your performance, so make sure to use this checklist and get the best candidate.

Sources:

How to Be Buyer-Centric

Being Buyer-Centric

Customers have dozens, if not hundreds of choices in the marketplace when they look for products and services. You need to give them a compelling reason to come to you rather than finding a competitor with a few extra clicks. Adopting buyer-centric practices allows you to make the case that you’re the best option for their current purchasing needs. Here are a few ways to focus your attention on the customer experience.

Every Department Must Understand Your Customers

Many businesses place the responsibility of understanding their customers on customer support, marketing and sales. However, the decisions made throughout your organization impact whether you’re buyer-centric or not. For example, product development can’t optimize functionality if they don’t understand customer pain points and perspective.

Remove Barriers in Their Journey

Customers follow many paths when they’re figuring out which product to purchase. Some browse on their smartphones and read through your email newsletter, while others research product reviews and make feature comparisons. Track these complex buyer journeys and remove anything that stands in their way to a purchase.

Deliver the Promised Value

Every time you interact with a customer, you convey a brand promise that often revolves around specific benefits. Your marketing or sales team may position your products as time-savers, or your company could be known for its excellent customer service. You need to live up to this brand promise at each customer touchpoint so you remain consistent.

Provide the Proper Support at Each Step

Many organizations focus on the customer only at the end of the line, when they’re close to making a decision. If you neglect them at any step, you create a negative customer experience that could drive people away. Identify the resources needed for buyers and your employees at these critical points. For example, your sales team should know about the most popular products, while the buyers get blog posts, videos and other content to educate them.

You don’t win over a customer once and call it a day. A buyer-centric organization sets itself up to meet consumer expectations every time they engage with your company. These four areas are the most important in creating a strategy that will keep your growth steady.

Sources:

http://www.customers.com/articles/defining-customer-centric-organization/

http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-experience-strategy/

https://hbr.org/2013/09/the-truth-about-customer-experience

What Are Vector Graphics – [Video Tutorial]

Vector Graphics

You might have heard of vector graphics, but what actually are they? The technical answer is graphics made up of a sequence of commands or mathematical statements that can be infinitely scaled without distortion. Science and math aside, they are digital images not made out of pixels that can be made in a variety of programs with drawing and shape tools. Vector graphics are great for logos, icons, digital illustration, and much more. In this video you will learn how to create and style vector graphics and also see some great examples of how to use them.

What Are Vector Graphics

Vector graphics are infinitely scalable digital images that are made up of mathematical equations. They can be made in a variety of programs such as InDesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator. I’m going to use Illustrator because the program has easy to use shape-building tools.

What Are They Used For?

Pretty much all graphic elements, icons, logos, lines, and illustration work done digitally are vectors. They can range from being as simple as a circle to an incredibly detailed illustration.

Why are Vectors Useful

Vectors are especially great because they can be infinitely scaled and won’t distort. You can use the same logo on your business cards and a billboard by simply resizing the artwork in Illustrator. If your logo was not created with vectors and saved as a scalable file type you will be very limited in the ways you can use it and will either have a pixilated logo when scaling larger or have to insert a large over-scaled image in and size it down every time.

How to Make Vector Graphics

In Illustrator any element you make, whether that be a line, circle, pen stroke, anything, is a vector. Images and photography that you might bring into Illustrator however are not vectors and you can tell because if you zoom in you can see they are made up of pixels. You can however download very detailed vectors that are made up of lots of tiny shapes.

So as I said, photography and images you find online will never be typically not be vectors, but there are a few ways to turn certain files into vectors. They typically are not going to retain the level of detail from the original file unless it is a shape or graphic element, because those are pretty easy to recreate. One option for doing this with graphic elements is image trace which we have gone over in another video, and the other is to manually trace the image separating by color, shade, etc which typically gives off a illustrated cartoon-like look.

How to Style Vector Graphics

Some great settings to check out are the stroke palette where you can make changes like rounding shape corners or adjusting end caps. The transform palette is great for seeing vector properties and adjusting rotation or scaling options.

Are Catalogs Dead? – Thinking Strategically About Product Marketing

Breaking Away From the Pack

We hear it asked a lot in our industry, are catalogs dead? We know that large print catalogs are industry standard and have been for a long time but in order to stand out from your competition you need to start, if you haven’t already, looking at them in a smarter way. The act of blindly distributing a large amount of print catalogs is outdated especially with the rise of mobile and the internet in general. The problem with this approach is that often times there is hardly any data behind the distribution and potential success of your catalog. To fully understand the question “are catalogs dead?” we first need to look back in time.

Why Interactive Catalogs Work

In the prime years of traditional catalogs, the internet and eCommerce weren’t as developed as they are now. It wasn’t considered an inconvenience to produce a print catalog once a year and ask customers to call in or order in person because it was the only way possible. Now the gap has been bridged and it is not only possible, but it is smart to utilize marketing and selling on the same channel—the internet. Interactive catalogs simplify the buying process because the customers no longer have to work as hard to purchase products. With interactive catalogs all customers have to do is find the products they need and then click a link that leads them from the product to the shopping cart.

What to Do About It

PDF catalogs are a great way to move into the digital marketing space, and can be a great resource especially when paired with email tracking software to track customer interaction through analytics. Interactive catalogs take this approach to the next level especially if they have built-in analytics, product hotspots that link to eCommerce, search, etc. With all these tools it doesn’t make sense to send out 15,000 300 page catalogs when there are options to send out a smaller volume of print catalogs to one collection of repeat buyers and interactive catalog links to an unlimited amount of potential customers or marketing qualified leads or sales qualified leads.

So are Catalogs Dead?

Absolutely not. Catalogs have existed for as long as they do because they work. We have seen opportunity and need-specific catalogs trending across all verticals. With catalog automation it is easy to create catalogs specific to different departments, brands, collections, seasons, etc. We see customers creating smaller and custom custom catalogs for both print and web, and them turning these catalogs digital for easy sharing. With Catsy you can enable your graphics department to create your standard catalogs and also give your sales team access to your data to create instant catalogs to better convert leads. Choosing print, digital, or both is part of the skill of knowing your audience and content marketing. Print is not dead but it is not always necessary. At Catsy we do not believe in the abandonment of print catalogs, but rather offering a solution for a strategic approach to publishing, more in-depth analysis of your customers, and a cost effective smart approach to marketing products.

How Catsy Can Help

Catsy pairs automation with traditional publishing to help you create catalogs in unprecedented speeds. Easily turn your existing catalog interactive and add product hotspots, alternate images, and analytics with Catsy’s Digital Catalog Creator. Signup for a demo at http://catsy.com/contact-us.