Weekly brochures are the key drivers of purchase decisions in the retail – How the print automation saves your marketing budget in the process

Major retailers are in the midst of a difficult transition. After COVID, inflation and the supply chain crisis, innovative ways must be found to make brands successful. As a result, the demand for creativity has never been greater. The weekly prospectus continues to be a tool of choice for many major retailers in this regard.

According to survey data collected by Vericast, weekly leaflets are still an effective tool for customer engagement. Weekly leaflets are an important sales driver: 66% of consumers study the discounts and special offers in a leaflet before they go shopping. The study also shows that 87 % of shoppers read the brochures as long or longer than in the previous year.

One reason for the continued popularity of brochures and leaflets is their ease of reading. According to Vericast, printed materials, including mailed brochures, require 21% less cognitive effort to read than their digital counterparts. So the question is: why aren’t retail brochures more in the focus of creative marketers?

An undeservedly bad reputation

There are several reasons why leaflets can be marginalised in the complex world of multichannel retail marketing. For one, brochures and flyers eat up a significant portion of a retailer’s marketing budget. Some of this is due to less controllable factors, such as the cost of paper and postage, while other factors, such as the labour involved in production, regional versioning and distribution, are only seemingly uncontrollable. (More on this later.) Shrinking or constrained marketing budgets have tempted some retailers to reduce their brochure programmes, but this has often had negative consequences, including millions of dollars in lost sales. According to Vericast, cutting your grocery prospecting budget by as little as 5% can cause your bottom line to shrink due to lost sales that you can’t make up through other media.

Another reason for the undeservedly bad reputation of the leaflet is the supposed “uniformity” of the format. Each leaflet contains a mixture of many featured products, special offers, discount coupons and limited time offers. Such a complex combination is very labour intensive. (More on that later, too.) But because so much information has to be packed onto a fixed number of pages – and under deadline pressure – design too often has to take a back seat. The results are highly functional, as the enduring impact of brochures proves, but it’s hard to produce a design that stands out from the crowd.

How to make a grand entrance

As it turns out, there is a way to reduce the cost of this valuable marketing medium and open up new opportunities for creative design: Automation. With the right automation strategy, a creative marketer can achieve greater cost efficiencies and make this important channel for promoting the retailer’s brand more memorable. It is the design version of the “best of both worlds”.

Automation starts with eliminating repetitive data-related tasks that plague all modern businesses. Retailers often deal with data from fragmented data sources, including product information management (PIM) systems, digital asset management (DAM) systems, pricing and inventory systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems and other proprietary systems. The effort required to create a prospecting campaign can be expensive. Add to that the need to create separate, regional versions of a prospectus, and automation can radically simplify the process.

Fortunately, Comosoft LAGO can do just that. By linking all these data sources into a single workflow, LAGO’s marketing production automation process overcomes these challenges and facilitates both scale and speed – without compromising quality or version diversity.

Good design is also enabled by automation. When the complexity of selecting and managing the volume of product data is reduced, designers can focus on what they do best – designing.

Again, Comosoft LAGO meets this need, empowering marketing managers and their teams to make a big impression. The LAGO workflow connects multiple data sources (as specified by the company’s marketing management) with the mainstay of modern print design – Adobe InDesign. Data-intensive brochures and flyers can thus receive the full creative energy of experienced designers, even when multiple regional or demographic versions are produced.

The marketing multiverse

Of course, the brochure is just one part of an ever-growing number of marketing channels, all vying for customers’ attention. Studies have shown that a coordinated campaign with a consistent mix of messaging and visual appeal is far more effective than any individual component on its own. So when information can be effortlessly transferred from one medium to another, it creates a marketing “splash” that can lead to net cost savings.

This “splash” is also an advantage of LAGO. When a brochure is prepared for print, including multiple versions, the promotional data and imagery can be automatically exported to web-based or mobile apps, making it easy to orchestrate a contemporary multichannel campaign. Instead of struggling to execute such a complex campaign once, marketing and creative teams can conveniently do so on a weekly basis.

In today’s fiercely competitive environment, a retailer’s content, assets, channels and campaigns are growing exponentially, even as resources and budgets stagnate or decline. The need to make a big impact has therefore never been greater. But with LAGO, a savvy creative or marketing director can do just that.