Stylish home furnisher Z Gallerie has absolutely mastered the art of balancing new and old. The family-founded business got its start in the late 70’s, not far from their current L.A. digs. Over the last 30-plus years, they’ve built a loyal customer base, opened 57 retail locations across the U.S., and established a healthy online presence. Today, Z Gallerie’s customers look to the brand for their modern collections accented with vintage details.
Print, and the Power of Desire
Like most brands, Z Gallerie’s digital channels play a premier role in their marketing mix. The brand has also, however, come to embrace the value of creating tangible connections in their customers’ homes. Last year, they launched a series of print catalogs to do just that. Each catalog—of which there will be eight total—consists of different visual narratives, giving their customers a way to learn about upcoming colors, styles and themes. The first one was delivered at the start of the fall/winter holiday season, and the response was extremely positive.
Z Gallerie isn’t the only brand experimenting with direct mail—a decidedly old-school marketing medium—these days either. Take menswear retailer Bonobos, for example. Last year, Bonobos reported that some 20% of first-time online customers were inspired to place an order after having received the brand’s catalog in the mail. Moreover, these shoppers spent 1.5 times as much as first-time buyers who didn’t receive a catalog. U.K.-based clothing retailer Boden found direct mail to be similarly effective. Their customers spend as much as 20 minutes engaging with its print catalog, compared to an average of eight seconds with email and about five minutes with Boden’s iPad app.
Making the Case for Print
Today’s consumer is inundated with information every which way they turn. So, why are brands like Bonobos, Boden and Z Gallerie betting on print?
1. A Point of Differentiation
Consider the number of emails that make it into your inbox every day – probably too many to count. In 2014, business professionals sent and received an average of 121 emails per day. This number is expected to hit 140 by 2018. Now, compare that to the amount of snail mail you receive. A few bills, a wedding invitation, maybe a magazine or three. In short, while some brands have deemed print old-fashioned, Z Gallerie is effectively connecting with customers in a less competitive space. In an age of online overload, print may just provide an opportunity to stand out.
2. An Immersive Brand Experience
The anatomy of a transaction is complex; purchase decisions are influenced by multiple channels, numerous pieces of content, and a customer’s own network of family and friends. While digital platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and so on are well suited for snackable pieces of content—keeping the conversation fresh and ongoing—these interactions are often relatively short-lived. Z Gallerie wanted something more immersive. Hence, their print catalog.
By mailing a printed catalog filled with high-quality images, Z Gallerie is able to bring their brand to life and provide contextual relevance around their newest products. That a catalog recipient can physically turn a page and rip out or dogear cool products adds to the overall impact. Print is ultimately palpable, and that makes the interaction personal.
3. Something to Talk About
In addition to differentiation and brand immersion, Z Gallerie also discovered that catalogs are capable of facilitating organic conversation online. Catalog recipients felt compelled to share their own photos on Instagram, styling the catalog atop kitchen counters, coffee tables, nightstands and other locales throughout the home.
This enthusiasm caught on, too. User-generated images generated hundreds of comments, thousands of “Likes” and millions of brand impressions. We’ve listed a few of our favorite responses to customer photos here:
- “Love it!”
- “How do we get this catalog?”
- “Such a pretty catalog – I wanted everything.”
- “I love Z Gallerie.”
UGC: We Want More, More, More
If Z Gallerie learned anything from their first catalog mailing, it’s that their customers are loyal, engaged and in love with Instagram. To leverage these attributes, the team put together a multi-channel campaign for spring designed to amplify audience excitement, drive catalog subscriptions and bridge communication between online and offline fans. Between March and July 2015, Z Gallerie is encouraging catalog subscribers to share photos on Instagram and to tag them with #PagesOfStyle. Every month, the brand will choose one winner to receive a $250 Z Gallerie gift card.
They’ll be promoting the contest in four ways to encourage participation:
- Print via a banner on the back cover of their spring catalog (pictured below)
- On the brand’s homepage
- Social communities (i.e. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter)
- A carefully selected network of influencers
Early Campaign Results
While Z Gallerie’s #PagesOfStyle campaign has been live for just a few weeks, they’ve already seen an amazing response – including a 24% lift in user-generated content submissions, compared to an average week. In a brand new case study, we shed light on some of these early campaign findings.