Even if you’ve never seen the movie, you are probably familiar with the famous scene in “Field of Dreams” where a voice whispers from the field, “If you build it, he will come.” It was a powerful scene and a powerful movie, but as the movie became part of our collective pop culture, people started to apply that famous line to all sorts of situations.
For example, at the dawn of the digital age, companies that fancied themselves as “cutting edge,” started building websites. They assumed that the mere presence of their company on the web would create traffic. “If we build it, they will come” became the universal philosophy, so they built these sites and waited. No one knew they were there.
Later, companies with product lines that could be offered on the web did the same. Instead of being geographically tied to their physical storefront, these companies could now offer their products online and ship them to anywhere in the world. Once again, they built it, but no one came.
To take it a step further, some companies started to scale back on print catalogs to produce digital catalogs for their product lines in an effort to save time and money. The catalogs functioned the same, but the outcome was not, and there was little time or money savings in the new endeavor.
So what’s the lesson to be learned here? The truth is, you can build it, and they will come. But there’s a missing step in between those two actions: you have to tell them about it. Direct mail and catalogs are important drivers to get people to your website, and here’s why according to the U.S. Postal Service® and comScore Networks:
- Direct mail and catalog recipients are more likely to make an online purchase than shoppers who do not receive direct mail.
- The number of items ordered online by recipients of direct mail is 24% higher than for those who did not receive DM, while catalog recipients order an additional 28% of items.
- More than 60% of catalog recipients were influenced by a catalog to visit the website – with the greatest influence on first-time shoppers.
- Almost 60% of online shoppers enjoy receiving catalogs and 57% of online shoppers said that even though they buy online, they still like to have a catalog on hand.
“Field of Dreams” is a great movie, but don’t let the magic of Hollywood confuse the facts. When all those cars start pulling up to the field at the end of the movie, my guess is that some savvy marketer sent those people a direct mail piece announcing that someone “built it.” Then, they came.