By Daniel Hunter

36% of companies with catalogues feel it is difficult to measure the value of a catalogue, with nearly a tenth (8%), saying they couldn’t directly attribute any sales directly through their catalogue.

The report, Channel Vision, put together by design, print and marketing specialists Catalogues 4 Business, questioned 123 organisations within the UK, asking them a number of questions around their current and future business and marketing plans.

“It is concerning to hear such a lack of testing and measuring taking place. The cornerstone of any marketing plan is ‘test and measure,’ it should be tattooed under the eyelids of every marketer,” Ian Simpson, Managing Director at Catalogues4Business commented.

“Without testing activity you will never know what works and what doesn’t. So you end up doing everything, all of the time, instead of focusing on the most effective bits and being more targeted in your approach.”

The report also showed that 53% of the companies interviewed currently use social media as a marketing tool, but half of these admitted that they don’t have a social media strategy in place, raising again issues of lack of measurement.

“Nowadays we live in a world where marketing tactics can be measured more than ever, especially thanks to the digital world, and the introduction of such things as QR codes, which help with both direct mail measurement and with driving people to your website," Ian added.

"So it’s alarming that those using social media don’t have a strategy, and therefore one can only assume don’t have a measurement process in place. Everything needs to be measured from social media to direct mail.”

With those companies already using a catalogue, when asked what was the major threat to their sales this year, more than one in five (22%) said marketing not performing as it should was their biggest sales threat.

“This is an interesting stat considering over a third using catalogues admitted to finding it hard to measure the performance of their catalogue, yet their biggest fear is their marketing is under performing," he continued.

"How do they know if it’s underperforming if they can’t measure? They need to address their measurement issues first. Measurement elements can easily be built into any campaign and I urge businesses to incorporate these elements now.”

Looking more at the performance of their catalogues 51% of businesses are not fully satisfied with their catalogue’s sales performance and 33% are keen to reinvigorate it so that it becomes a serious sales channel.

Indeed, of those interviewed who already use catalogues (78%) as part of their marketing mix admitted that their catalogues account for 31-40% of sales, and over 35% said that in excess of half their total sales were generated directly through their catalogues.

The interviewees from the report were drawn from businesses, both consumer and business-facing, in a real mix of sectors. Many of those interviewed were small and medium-sized enterprises, but the report also captured the views of some of the most significant players. One in ten had a £50 million plus turnover and 6% have annual sales exceeding £100 million.

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