Product catalogue is a very important sales and marketing tool in direct selling. Being so, it fulfills several functions simultaneously:
* As a medium of communication, it announces new products, new campaigns, new prices and the like.
* Helps keeping sales force motivation and interest high at all times.
* Creates a “reason” for the direct sellers to contact customers.
* Works as a sales aid and assists in product presentations.
* Determines and reminds the beginnings and endings of bonus cycles.
A product catalogue can be in any size and in number of pages, in print form. The goal here should be to reach a balance between “portability” and “presentation of full product range”. The word “balance” used here should imply that most of the time, it is not possible to maximize the two together. So, the aim is always to have the “optimum”.
Direct selling industry has not yet left the printed version of product catalogues but it is not the only format in today’s world. Almost all companies now offer catalogues on their web sites in a variety of forms and more and more of them provide them as smartphone or tablet “apps”.
But, how important is catalogue frequency? For one thing this is determining the life cycle of a catalogue, as a year, a season, a month or even as a period shorter than a month. And it is very important!
There is no universally accepted correct way to follow here. There are very successful examples to each of these routes taken. We know that there are giant direct selling companies that do not even have periodical catalogues at all.
On the other hand, determining the frequency of a product catalogue is a strategic decision. As a start, the ultimate goal has to be clearly set and the frequency has to be picked accordingly. We should never forget that a yearly, a seasonal or a monthly catalogue requires very different planning and working methods as far as the direct sellers are concerned. The choice made here has such a strong impact that many of the times, it affects the profile of the whole sales force. That’s why, once the decision has been made, I would recommend to stick to it unless there is a very valid reason to it. There are numerous cases where we see frequent changes producing very undesirable results.
When there is a real need to do this, it is always advisable to;
* Prepare well so another change will not be required soon,
* Inform the sales force well in advance,
* Communicate the reasons behind this change very clearly.