Inapt? Printed marketing collateral in a digital age

The Wall Street Journal is carrying a story today called Marketers Still Prefer a Paper Trail about how, despite the obvious environmental impact, 62% of retail marketers said their biggest revenue generator is catalogues.

Admitedly, the B2B space that I work in is very different when it comes to promotional activities than the world of retailing but I was still amazed at some of the numbers in the article. For instance, did you know that more than 17 billion catalogues were mailed in the U.S. last year, that’s about 56 for every American?

Now, in contrast to the retailing model described in the article, I’ve always worked in a high-tech, B2B environment. As such, I regularly argue that we should be shunning printed sales collateral in favour of electronic versions. And I’d love to tell you that that was because of deeply held environmental concerns but the truth is that it’s just what’s always made more sense in terms of keeping our collateral up-to-date and retaining maximum flexibility as to how we distribute it to our customers.

When talking about how printed collateral works in the retail space, The Journal’s Jeffrey Ball says that

glossy catalog pages still entice buyers in a way that computer images don’t. Catalogs, marketers say, drive sales at Web sites, making them more important than ever.

What do you think? To what extent do these principles hold true in the B2B space?

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Comments

2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Kokila de Silva,

    Hello Andrew,
    This blog post actually turned up as a ‘related post’ to – http://kokiladesilva.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/creating-a-new-league-of-marketing-collateral/

    I agree that printed collateral still has its place in the retail world. But when it comes to B2B and especially technology marketing, the game does change significantly.

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