On the Spot Episode 2 – Now is the Age of the Always-On Catalogue

On the second instalment of our new series, the team at The Pistol breaks down why an always-on strategy is a critical part of your digital strategy.

Last Friday, I sat down with The Pistol's CEO Troy Townsend and CCO Jaime Nosworthy to chat through digital catalogues. Why were we suddenly talking about them again? And what is the opportunity we are seeing for our current and prospective clients?

The concept isn’t new: brands have been uploading PDF versions of their catalogues on websites such as Lasoo.com.au since the early 2000s, with trackability improving as link building and PDF functionality has become more advanced.

You could even say that the eDM is another way of brands replicating the catalogue concept, and all good brands should already have an email marketing strategy in place.

So what do we mean at The Pistol when we talk about Digital Catalogue? And why is it on our radar again?

Well, to put it simply: COVID.

The Discussion:

Jaime Nosworthy, COO “When you physically cannot deliver a catalogue anymore – your behaviour needs to change. So whether that’s a blessing or a curse, what the environment has forced, is for businesses to turn to digital catalogues as an alternative and to start leveraging the catalogue-like tools from Facebook and Google that have been in the market for quite some time.”

Troy Townsend, CEO “The catalogue was the last staple of most big retailers marketing plans, and they were holding on because they’ve been doing it for so long. And in essence, catalogue still works. But transitioning from a purely traditional catalogue to purely digital distribution, while it’s a bigger jump, now that they’ve been forced to do it because they had no distribution methods, brands are getting insight into how digital costs a hell of a lot less and they can track to conversion.”

Formats such as Google Shopper Ads or Facebook Dynamic Ads have been in the market for a few years. Relying on product feeds to work to their full capabilities, these formats allow brands to easily segment their audiences and create hundreds of personalised ‘catalogues’ based not only on basic demographic data but actual user behaviour.

Once set up, these ads are powerful but in essence, simple.

Jaime: “At the end of the day, it’s dynamic. It’s all theme based and very, straightforward. You have a hero piece of creative and then leverage the dynamic capability of the ads formats that do all the heavy lifting for you.”

All it takes is having the right infrastructure in place. Investing in setting up and maintaining product feeds and integrating them with the right tools, so that once done, they will do more than power your digital catalogues.

Jaime: “One of our clients needed 190 variations of their catalogue every time they produced one because they have localised pricing, they stock different products and sell as different brands under a banner group. So that’s a team of five people developing and deploying these localised catalogues when Facebook and other technology give you the capability to do that in minutes. Imagine the headspace and internal resources you can free up and focus you can put on other things that technology can’t deliver.”

Troy: “I think this is the age of the always-on catalogue. One of the biggest things with catalogues is purely the amount of time they take to produce and distribute. Managing suppliers and promotional calendars a year in advance! When really they should be dynamic and relevant to what’s happening in the market at the moment.”

At The Pistol, we’ve run tests for clients in the past, executing traditional and digital catalogues simultaneously and compared results. Time to activate is, of course, the first value-added, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Once you get into the numbers, the biggest benefit of running digital catalogues is that you are being seen by 10X more people than you would through a traditional catalogue. And further to that, you can actually measure the engagement and results, demonstrate a return on investment figure and clearly attribute all consumer behaviour off the back of the catalogue. Well, that’s the biggest win, and something traditional catalogues simply cannot offer.

Keen to know more about Digital Catalogues and what we can do for your brand? Visit our Digital Catalogue Solutions page to find out more.

A TP veteran, Dominik heads up the Marketing department; when she’s not putting her colleagues on the spot, you can find her with a coffee in hand playing hallway cricket with her son.
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On the Spot Episode 1- Why are brands not investing in first-party data?

Our team provides first hand, inside access to what we’re currently exploring for our clients. In our debut episode, we discuss the value for brands to invest in first-party data.
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