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Moving Beyond Personalization Personalization, whether in print, e-mail or any other medium, is a powerful marketing tool. Increasingly, it has become a fundamental part of today’s marketing landscape. One of the secrets to 1:1 marketing success, however, is not to rely on personalization alone to achieve your goal.
hat this means is that personalization gets you in the door. It grabs attention. In the eyes of the recipient, it marks the communication as relevant or interesting. But there are many things that can occur between the time the mailer catches someone’s eye and the time that person responds.
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If you look through a series of case studies on 1:1 print marketing, whether using personalized URLs (PURLs) or other forms of personalization, marketers with the highest response rates tend not to rely on variable fields alone to motivate recipients to action. There is always some other element present that synergizes with the variable information to make it happen. For example, when a high-profile manufacturer of software for 1:1 printing and cross-media solutions wanted to promote attendance at its trade show booth, it used PURLs as the response mechanism to gather information and track responses. Nearly half of recipients—48%—registered for the event or separate publicity raffle. But the drivers were not due solely to the PURL itself. First, the marketer started with a well-qualified list of prospects. Then it used a Starbucks gift card as an incentive to respond. Finally, it followed up with a personalized e-mail to non-responders.*
Common Response Boosters
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Let’s look at some of the most common, industry-wide techniques that marketers combine with personalization to maximize response rates.
Personalization is a powerful tool, but it’s not a magic wand. Just as we don’t expect athletes to carry their team to glory all by themselves, you shouldn’t expect personalization to carry the load alone, either. Like all marketing elements, personalization works best when it is part of a collective effort.
Targeted audience. High response rates are most often the result of having a highly targeted audience that, by virtue of demographics or psychographics, is more likely than average to respond. A home furnishings company, for example, might target first-time homeowners. A lawn care company might send specials on lawn care kits to existing customers who recently purchased a high volume of grass seed.
Use of unusual design elements. Personalization can have a powerful impact, but only if people see it. To attract recipients’ attention in the first place, marketers often start with unusual design elements, such as oversized postcards, clear envelopes or lumpy mail.
Utilization of multiple media. Effective campaigns use multiple media to reinforce the message and remind people to respond. The use of personalized follow-up e-mails is a common technique.
High value incentive. This technique is common in applications using PURL campaigns, especially campaigns for lead generation or information gathering, such as customer feedback or prospect surveys. To motivate recipients to respond, marketers might offer a gift or monetary incentive, such as a restaurant gift card or entry into a sweepstakes.
* Source: Print On Demand Initiative (PODi) database (www. podi.org)
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<<First>>, do you know how to effectively use response boosters?