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The Rebirth of the Printed Holiday Toy Catalogue

Tammy Tufty | Domtar | Marketing Communications Manager
Many of us remember the coveted holiday toy catalogue. Whether it was the Sears Wishbook or the Toys R Us 100-page catalogue (RIP Toys R Us)

Many of us remember the coveted holiday toy catalogue. Whether it was the Sears Wishbook or the Toys R Us 100-page catalogue (RIP Toys R Us), the holiday toy catalogue was the number one vehicle for toy selection. Items were circled, pages were earmarked, or the more industrious of us had color coordinated tabs. It was a thoroughly memorable experience.up there with decorating your tree and making cookies. It was the tactile experience that only paper can provide. Hence, I loved the fact that Amazon saw an opportunity to bring back the holiday toy catalogue. Why is this a big deal, you ask?
Bringing Print and Paper Back
As a marketer and a lover of catalogues in general, I love the fact that a primarily e-commerce company employed a print catalogue into their arsenal of marketing tactics. It seems an unusual thing to do for the digital behemoth that is Amazon. However, Amazon saw an opportunity to use a "traditional" marketing tactic and created a 68-page guide in advance of the holiday season. Plus, with the unfortunate demise of Toys R Us, I'm sure Amazon saw an opportunity in the marketplace. Also, savvy marketers are making sure that catalogues are driven by consumer data and targeting the right consumer at the right time. They also know that millennials value print and enjoy the tactile experience.
The Holiday Toy Catalogue Reimagined
I think what is even more interesting is that they took a printed catalogue and they made it their own. The catalogue, "A Holiday of Play" has QR codes for selected toys. Customers scan the QR code learn more about the item and place an order. In addition to the tech aspect to drive customers to their site, the catalogue is designed with a retro feel and offers brands an opportunity to inspire with ideas, designs and creative visuals. The use of the iconic Amazon Prime boxes on the cover showcase their brand story and making a playful connection with their customer.
Are Catalogues Still a Major Channel?
I would tell you the answer is yes. According to the Multichannel Merchant Marketing Special Report, 84.2% of merchants state that they continue to use catalogues as a sales channel. The power of the catalogue in today's world is the connection that a catalog can make with a customer and drive them online to purchase. Nothing tells a brand story quite like the power of the paper. While Amazon is making a big splash with their new catalogue, you still see plenty of other retailers such as Target used printed catalogues as a channel. EBay has also followed in the footsteps of Amazon and launched their "Toy Book" with the season's hottest toys as well as retro toys.
I think you will continue to see catalogues and other print advertising marketing strategies revisited as a very viable marketing tactic. However, I think it will look different than it has in the past. You will see more data-driven tactics employed and very targeted direct mail pieces that will connect customers to online experiences in different and unusual ways. Just as digital technologies have advanced, so has print technology. The only thing that can limit you in today's world is your imagination.

Retrieved from Domtar Blueline

Tammy is the Marketing Communications Manager for Domtar's paper division. She is the daughter of a printer, so ink and paper run deep in her blood. When not conquering the world of paper, you can find her at Virginia Tech football games or at the beach with her husband and two daughters.