With the dawn of digital-marketing tools, the humble printed catalog began to wane in popularity. Despite being an effective direct-marketing method for more than 100 years, brand marketers and retailers turned to email, to digital flip-books and to micro-sites to convey their targeting brand message. Not only were there cost savings related to reduced postage and paper expense, but those great personalized communications brought a new way to relate with customers. A strange thing happened, though, on the way to the completely digital experience: Customers began to prefer print for some communications. Yes, apps are great for capitalizing on location-specific retail opportunities, but a catalog provides a different experience. Savvy marketers have noticed and now printed catalog volume went up in 2014, according to the New York Times, after a six-year decline. “After years of decline, the number of catalogs mailed in the United States increased in 2013, to 11.9 billion, according to the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group,” writes Rebecca Ruiz. “While that figure is about 60 percent of what it was at its peak in 2007, some analysts say the recent 1 percent rise in mailed catalogs, coupled with the care retailers are putting into them, may signal something of a renaissance.” Catalog pioneer J.C. Penney, which ditched its 1,000-page catalog five years ago, has reevaluated its stance and is re-entering the print catalog game. J.C. Penney spokeswoman Kate Coultas told NPR, "Our research has shown that our customers, particularly when it comes to looking at home merchandise, still prefer to browse a traditional print piece but then go online to order the item or go into our store." Of course, the recent news about the bankruptcy of the publisher of the SkyMall catalog may run counter to this trend, but it actually reinforces it. While kitschy and cute, the SkyMall catalog was not a brand air travelers had allegiance to or an emotional attachment with. In fact, leading brands and marketers like IKEA, American Girl and Anthropologie use a printed catalog to reinforce their brand and, more importantly, drive sales. Of course, consumers still buy in-store and online; the catalog serves as yet another touchpoint in the marketing mix. Shoppers just don’t want catalogs or fliers; they want their media personalized. The key to effective print communication is creating effective targeted content, in a compelling package.