Archive for February, 2010
Using the recipient’s name is an easy way to make your direct mail and email marketing relevant to the recipient, but I am often asked, “How do I use my data to create a more personalized direct marketing experience?”
The answer lies in using your data. I know many people have a hard time making the connection between “using data” and how that translates into variable direct marketing, so let’s look at some examples:
1) Getting people to interact with your web site is great, but making them search for information that you should already know… not cool. (And not personalized or relevant.)
In the personalized email below, you’ll see all the variable information highlighted, including the location, price, discounted savings, show logos, dates and even a Personalized URL The recipient doesn’t have to go to a web site and then search for the information that applies to them.
By the way the video that plays at the Personalized URL, is a variable video. The only video that plays is the one for the location of the recipient. They don’t have to select or weed through the videos of shows that aren’t coming to their area. Check it out at: www.BroadwayForASong.com/KristinaSmith.
2) Write copy for each audience as if you were speaking directly to a recipient within that audience.
The example below is tailored to families. It speaks specifically to the amenities that a family will value, not to singles or seniors, and it certainly doesn’t try to address all the audiences at the same time.
3) Location, location, location. When proximity is important, tell them just how close they are.
4) All customers are not created equal, so why would you offer them all the same thing?
5) If nothing else, always use their name.
It’s easy to get creative with imagery, but don’t forget basic copywriting techniques, like using their name within the text.
6) And finally…
Just for fun, the piece below contains over 75 variables to make the direct mail piece relevant to the recipient. Can you find them all? I’ll give you a hint… there is variable copy within variable copy.
Using variable data in mail, email and personalized web pages becomes much easier when you understand how to apply what you already know to create relevant marketing materials. The significant improvement in response and purchase rates makes it well worth the effort.
In industries where physical products are sold, a number that is critically analyzed is inventory turnover. Without going into a long calculation, this number illustrates the company’s good or poor management of inventory. It can highlight that too much inventory is in stock, causing high carrying costs and poor use of cash, or it can show that too little inventory is being held, causing shortages and lost revenue.
Recently while attending a client review meeting, I witnessed how this client applies inventory turnover to using an on-demand printing platform. Being a numbers person myself, I was immediately intrigued. (Just so you know, an “on-demand printing,” “web-to-print” or “marketing communications portal” solution basically allows easy, speedy, online ordering of printed products like stationery, forms, labels, envelopes, postcards, business cards, etc. For more info you can see a demo of our solution.
This client took their printed inventory cost to practically $0 by:
- Using a web interface to order only what is needed, instead of massive bulk shipments
- Shipping stationery, forms and fliers directly to their sales personnel instead of storing and shipping from their corporate headquarters
- Printing all of their direct mailings using on-demand digital technology, eliminating the storing of shell postcards and the cost of overprinting
Not to mention the thousands of dollars they are saving by streamlined invoicing and ordering processes. They are “virtually” in love with on-demand printing. Yes, they pay a little more per printed piece, but probably not as much as you think. And yes, they know exactly what they are saving using this solution, although they weren’t willing to share the numbers with me. Hmmm… I wonder if I’m not charging them enough?
It’s no secret that my company, Mail Print, works in the casino marketing space providing variable data printing, variable data email and PURLs. Whether you love the gaming industry or hate it, you have to admire some of the forward-thinking ways they employ direct marketing, and specifically the use of their rich customer databases to deploy personalized offers and messages.
Our casino marketing clients consistently receive 10-30% response rates on their direct mail and email programs. Here are just some of the ways they do it:
- Ongoing Segmentation/Data Analysis – that empower them to deliver relevant messages and offers.
- Personalized Messaging – that speaks specifically to the interests of each individual customers.
- Compelling Offers – tailored to the value of the recipient.
- Interactive Mail Pieces – such as pull tab and scratch off games.
- Reasons to Act – including limited time offers that always have an expiration date.
- A Focus on Loyalty/Client Retention – that is bigger than just direct marketing.
So what’s next for casino marketers? Test, test, test and test some more. You can’t get too comfortable with what is working today in casino marketing and neglect figuring out what will work in the future.
Take Aways for Non-Casino Direct Marketers:
Double-digit response rates start with a strong customer database. To emulate a successful casino marketer, gather info about your customers with each transaction or interchange, and then use it to create targeted and personalized marketing communications.
Test something new! There’s no reason a B2B or B2C marketer can’t steal a tactic from the casino marketing playbook, such as a personalized direct mail piece, pull-tab, scratch off, or Personalized URL.
My favorite iPhone app is Pandora Internet Radio. Not only am I captivated by the depth of the music offered, but being a data geek, I am fascinated by Pandora’s ability to dissect a song into 400 attributes to deliver me song after song that match my unique music tastes.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pandora, it is based on the Music Genome Project, which basically breaks songs into data points that are stored in a database. When I create a station based on a particular song or artist, it searches the database to find and play similar songs. Sounds good, right? Well it gets better. Then I refine my station by eliminating songs through a “Thumbs Down,” or encouraging the repeat playing of a song with a “Thumbs Up.” I get music I love, Pandora gets ad revenue, and the artists get revenue when I buy songs, which I do on a regular basis.
So this got me thinking. This is basically database marketing in action. You use and apply data to deliver relevant, personalized content. When people respond and purchase, you just got the “Thumbs up.” No response = “Thumbs Down.” When you apply the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down learning over time through a predictive response model, you become a very wise, and profitable, direct marketer.
Both Pandora and direct marketing deliver what ultimately counts: happy customers and profitable revenue, but they certainly aren’t the only ones who have figured this out. Amazon.com, iTunes and hoards of other retailers have already discovered the magic of predictive analytics. What other companies do you know that use data to generate relevant content, recommendations and sales?
Google Analytics is great FREE tool for tracking website traffic and visitor behavior. However, with the recent addition of Annotations, Analytics is now a great tool for tracking how your direct mail campaigns and other marketing activities drive traffic to your website.
Annotations, which was released to Google Analytics users during January 2010, allows users to note events that may have affected website traffic within the timeline view of your website visitors, helping marketers, IT, and others explain peeks and dips.