Posts tagged personalized marketing
Nowadays, life is flying by us all so fast. So many companies, advertisements, and messages – it’s difficult to keep up. However, if companies and organizations knew how to reach the consumer on a personal level, people actually pay attention. You might have the exact product or service a customer desires, but if you do not appeal to their senses and emotions, they may never know it. If you learn to direct your marketing efforts in such a way that creates a spark, even if only briefly, you can create something that grabs a person’s attention enough to focus on your brand. Then, you will have a window of opportunity to take them further into your own brand and connect their emotions and senses to what you have to offer.
Did you know that “61% of consumers feel more positive about a brand if personalized marketing is used”? When a consumer receives an e-mail related to something they were recently researching they are more likely to engage in that email. For example, if a consumer visited a college website and signed up for courses, they may get an e-mail about purchasing textbook for a discount. They need textbooks and you’ve made it easier for the student to reach the ultimate goal of gaining an education.
SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.
Nearly half (44%) of all consumers are less responsive to non-personalized messages. Think for just a moment: if you receive a marketing piece from a brand you have had a personal experience with, and the piece references your experience, you are more likely to engage that brand than if you receive a mass marketing piece from a brand you have never engaged with.
SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.
More than half (53%) of all consumers are very likely to purchase something from a company when a brand personalizes marketing through digital communications. If you’ve been shopping at a particular store and you give them your contact information, they will send you coupons to entice your return. You’ve already been there, so chances are, you’ll be back again.
SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.
Maybe a consumer will get a personalized marketing message that directs them to a website that includes their name in the web address. (Personalized URLs also known as PURLS.) People absolutely love to see their name in lights and companies are well aware of the power of this personalized marketing technique that’s becoming increasingly more popular. Is your company privy to the newest personalized marketing platforms?
From Mail Print’s perspective when we send highly personalized marketing pieces from our company our phones ring the week following the delivery of that mail piece at a rate 25% more than normal.
If a consumer trusts you, they probably love your company, brand, and products or services and may not even know it. Gain their trust and you will likely gain their business. Are you aware that more than half (52%) of all consumers trust brands that enable them to share their marketing preferences more than brands that do not?
If you can put yourself and your company in your target market’s shoes, then you will know exactly what to create and what to avoid. You will save precious time and lots of money also. It’s a marketers dream. Consumers need to trust your brand, know your logo, and feel good about what you offer to them. If you can accomplish all of that, everything else is cake.
SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.
Creative Variable Data Printing Services
If you are looking to increase response rates and cut costs, we have some creative ideas in which you can use Variable Data Printing. Before saying something like, “We already use data printing services”, ask yourself a few questions – How well is it working for you? Are you receiving great response rates, and are you getting an enormous return on your investment? If not, then you might be missing out on something.
Getting your message across and creating a lasting impression is important. Including an element of creativity, trust, and interest in your company is vital in order to make a connection through direct marketing in variable data printing.
Using Variable Data Printing in 10 Better Ways for a Greater R.O.I.
- Variety – Use different content, not just different words.
- Emotion – Find out everything about a prospect or client. Appeal to the emotions most important to the prospect or client. Make sure that your brand triggers an emotional response.
- Personalize – Make sure that you include their name, company name (when b2b marketing), address, and anything else that might be relevant to your message.
- Build an Alliance - Let your prospect know that your company wants to be MORE than just a place to make a purchase. Many companies are looking for good partners, they are trying to make connections for networking, and are focused on power building strategies.
- Graphics and Color – Use pictures that are true to your brand. You will be remembered as a company who understands delivering the total package. Every company must show themselves as worthy to be remembered, and relevant graphics can help.
- Check Your Content - It’s so easy to push a potential client away by glorifying our own company. Make your content easy to read. Ask the reader questions, and appeal to emotion. Focus on your reader.
- Usefulness – What does your reader need? When does he need it? If you show that you have paid attention to his needs in the correspondence that you send, he’d be very intrigued, but he might also be inclined to put more trust in you than before. Trust is a great marketing technique.
- Detail - Make the recipient feel as if he was your only customer. You can send out bulk mail and tailor-make each individual piece by using specific details. Research specific information about current and potential clients, and surprise them by including it in your direct marketing techniques.
- Focus on Brand - Every customer/company has different personality features.These features make up their specific brand. It goes much deeper than color, design, and logo. Research the motto, mission statement, and vision statement. Tailor your content to these specific variables.
- Experiment – Experimentation is vital for direct marketing. Keep trying until you find the right technique. Using different color schemes and designs may help reach different people who you never expected to reach. Just because you accidentally appeal to a market that is outside of your target range, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to do so. This strategy may lead to a whole new market segment.
Practice Makes Excellence
Practice shouldn’t ‘make perfect’, it should create excellence. If marketing techniques were ‘perfect’, then we’d never learn how to be creative. Don’t aim for perfection, aim for excellence. Expand your mind beyond what others are doing, and surpass them. You will get it just right, and then realize that it needs to be changed once again. This is part of our fast paced society and there’s no avoiding it.
The evolution of variable data printing (VDP) has significantly changed the landscape for the designers of direct marketing pieces. No longer are they forced to craft pieces that will appeal to a broad range of potential clients and hope for the best. Instead, they can utilize data captured from emails, web pages, surveys, phone calls and in-person interviews to create individualized direct marketing pieces to more accurately target the needs of their clients.
The Market – At its core, variable data printing is still a direct marketing strategy. As such, it relies on having data on your clients and prospects. This data can be self-generated by your company or purchased from third-party vendors. Lists are available in a range of options and can be tailored to your exact needs. In short, VDP combined with the right data is an excellent marketing option for clients as diverse as charitable organizations and casinos to insurance agencies and college alumni departments.
Individualized Pieces – The secret to a variable data printed piece is in how the information and artwork is integrated. While the name and address are from one database, the customers stated preferences are also utilized so that the right copy and artwork is also included. This process allows the designer to incorporate pre-written copy and preselected pictures about the best choices of product for a customer.
For instance, a casino might know that certain customers preferred “FREE Dinner” while others wanted their hotel room comped. With non-VDP, the designer is constrained into sending the same piece to both customers with an offer for a meal and/or a room. With VDP, the designer can send two or more meal offers to one customer and room offers to the other – complete with appropriate photos.
Increased Response – As you can imagine, this type of marketing better targets potential customers and produces a superior response rate. The most basic use of the process returns double the response rate while more sophisticated campaigns can yield a response 15-20 times greater than a static direct marketing campaign.
Lowered Costs – The vast majority of work in a variable data printing campaign is in the development of the text, graphics and images so that they align with the available data. In addition, the collection of data can be time consuming. However, once this effort has been made, a VDP campaign can be customized to fit any budget.
The campaign can affordably be run over and over again to a select group of clients or to new pools of prospects as they are generated. In addition, VDP allows a marketer to experiment on a small test group before committing resources to a larger campaign. Lastly, you can even build in “fail safes” to exclude customers who have never responded to a certain number of offers.
Customized Follow-Up Campaigns – Similarly, as more data is captured on responsive clients, further enhancements to the campaign can be made. More info can be sent on selected products or the piece can be modified to address what stage of the “buy-cycle” the customer is in.
The Bottom Line – As you can see, variable data printing can have a huge effect on the direct marketing campaign of a forward looking marketer. The technology is available and your company most likely already has all the data it needs. Now, you just need to a take that leap of faith and combine the two.
The evolution of digital printing has transformed the world of direct marketing. No longer must the same static messages be sent to every customer on your mailing list. Instead, the use of customer information databases and variable data printing (VDP) allows a business to completely tailor the content of their mailing to each individual customer.
Complex variable data printing may sound difficult to implement, but with the right partner and the requisite data, it can produce an effective and profitable direct mail campaign that delivers superior response rates.
The VDP process starts with information. In fact, customer information is the real key to creating highly personal messages and delivering significantly higher results than traditional direct mail campaigns. With the use of multiple databases, a VDP campaign allows a company to combine the name, address and particulars of a customer with an ad specifically targeted to their needs and interests. The result is an ad that provokes a far higher response rate than traditional non-variable marketing pieces.
In addition to using the actual name of the recipient, VDP should also reference their geographic area, the past purchases, their buying behavior, personal interests and other specific traits. The key is to collect a lot of information on your customers or prospects and use that information to create a personal experience for the recipient. In this particular application, content is certainly king as it can grab the attention of the recipient and ultimately lead them to respond.
While words are the ultimate closer in a marketing piece, images are the attention grabber. Imagine that at a basic level a car dealer can send pictures of sports cars to the 18-25 demographic and sedans to the 40-50 crowd, but let’s add another layer of insight. The car dealer sends a piece that is designed around the age, past purchase history, family status (whether children are present in the household), and income. So now instead of just sports cars vs. sedans, we can target the right level of sedan and even offer a loan package based on general credit information. This differentiation can mean the difference between a direct mail piece being read or being discarded – in other words, the difference between success and failure.
The Follow Up
One of the more powerful benefits of VDP is that it can be constantly updated and customized to every potential client. Each time you send a mailing and get a response, the database is updated. In other words, you are constantly qualifying the desires and needs of your clients. With enough perseverance, you will build a true image of your client and be better positioned to convert them into a paying customer.
The Bottom Line
Variable data printing is a 21st century technology that no successful business can afford to be without. Utilizing the combined power of databases and the technological advances of digital printing allows companies to select, target and market to an incredible variety of customers on a very personal level.
Don’t be left behind when contemplating your next direct marketing campaign. Whether your business targets range from banking, insurance or casinos to non-profits and educational institutions, variable data printing can provide a very focused solution that generates excellent response rates, superior conversion and a whole new set of potential clients.
This is the second part of a blog post series gleaning lessons from the direct marketing successes of four casinos that won the Romero Awards in 2012. Romero Awards recognize outstanding, accountable, measurable casino marketing.
In this post you can learn takeaways from Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs, Ark., and Seminole Casino, Coconut Creek, Fla.
A Scratch-and-Win Promo with an Anticipation Twist
Oaklawn Racing and Gaming learned there is emotional currency in creating anticipation. The casino had past success with scratch-and-win direct mail pieces and decided to play off of that by asking customers to not scratch their card at home but to bring that card into the casino on Saturday to scratch and redeem.
The response rate was more than previous efforts and the coin-in rate (money put through the slots and machines) was more than double the average of the previous four Saturdays.
SOURCE: Casinos Hit the Jackpot with Direct Mail, March 2012. Deliver Magazine.
According to Deliver Magazine, Oaklawn’s cost of the promotion was $34,894. The coin-in total grew by more than $1 million over the previous year and there was a visitor increase of 68%.
Penny Players Prove Direct Mail Test a Success
Seminole Casino wanted to learn if targeting specific denominational players would deliver better results than not factoring in which denominations players prefer to play. So they developed a list with all of their active players with more than 50% of penny play and added players who hadn’t played for up to 24 months.
The marketing piece had a dual message: that Seminole had increased the number of penny machines by 33% and were offering 1,001 spins on them. The promotion was basically the equivalent a $10.01 free-play offer.
Seminole then sent a press release and ran ads in newspapers and on billboards reinforcing the abundance of penny machines. A total of 49,882 pieces were mailed that earned a 33% response rate, including 18.8% from disengaged players.
Players appreciated the increased number of penny slot machines and the mailed offer.
When Savvi Formalwear, a group of 35 independent formal wear retailers, wanted to connect with more soon-to-be brides, it chose the print and digital trifecta — direct mail, email and personalized landing pages.
All of Savvi Formalwear’s direct mail pieces were personalized using variable data printing (VDP), with coupons or incentives such as the two free airline tickets shown in the postcard in this post and a PURL that drives brides to a landing page with a store locator and Savvi Formalwear branding.
Savvi Formalwear is using the campaign to capture more of the $1 billion formal wear industry, that like other industries, has suffered because of the 2009-2011 recession.
Not coincidentally the majority of Savvi Formalwear stores are located on the west coast where nearly 20% of the formal wear transactions occur. In these 35 stores, Savvi Formalwear is trying to lure as many of the two million brides that get married every year to their stores and services as possible.
SOURCE: IBIS World Report, Formal Wear and Costume Rental in the U.S., May 2012
Savvi Formalwear’s campaign, named SavviOne, included weekly mail drops across the U.S. and Canada to promote formal wear to couples planning their weddings. Using the power of personalization, Savvi Formalwear significantly increased the engagement and conversions in its multi-channel promotional campaign, according to Mark Morrow, president of Savvi Formalwear.
SOURCE: Case Studies, www.montagedigital.com
Bride Puts Money Toward Print Pieces Not Cake or Dress
While most brides can spend the majority of their wedding budget on elaborate centerpieces, cakes and designer dresses, bride Robin Nelson, who works in the printing industry, invested her wedding dollars in a cross-media wedding campaign.
Nelson said the campaign enabled her to gather more information about each of her guests to organizing the wedding to taking advantage of technologies that count RSVPs and help brides budget for dinner, drinks, the rehearsal dinner and after-ceremony reception.
SOURCE: “Happily Ever After: A Cross-Media Wedding Campaign” by Robin Nelson, XMPie Blog, Oct. 12, 2011
With the use of variable data printing, there was no confusion on head count at Nelson’s wedding. Nelson attributes this to her guests who updated their RURL (Response URL also called PURL for personalized URL) especially in regards to how many children who would be coming with them).
The information Nelson got from her guests through the landing page they responded to allowed her to stay within budget, update her guest list and create a seating chart.
Nelson also downloaded the XMPie Marketing Console iPhone app that allowed her to provide final head counts and meal preferences to her caterer and vendors through report on-the-fly report technology.
So while some brides like the visual trimmings (cakes, bridesmaid’s gifts, etc.), savvy brides are tapping into VDP and digital technology to make their wedding planning less stressful and more personalized to all involved.
*QR Codes are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.
Nine times out of ten, a donor receives a letter that starts with, “Thank you for your generous donation.” Because giving is an emotional response, it deserves an emotional thank you with more pep and personality than a typical, status quo thank you. Read Shannon Doolittle’s 22 Delightful Ways to Say Thank You.
Here’s a sample of humorous ways Shannon suggests saying thank you so you can delight, not bore your donors.
- You = awesome. Me = grateful.
- Move over Gates and Buffett, there’s a new philanthropist in town.
- Our clients have started an unofficial fan club. You should start practicing your autograph.
And according to an article in Forbes, Don’t Thank Your Donor with a Gift, a great thank you is far superior to giving donors gifts, which can be counterproductive.
Foreshadow Good Things to Come Thanks to Their Donation
Beyond saying a great thank you, help connect the dots for your donors by telling them what’s happening. Something like, “Your donation pushes us to 90% of goal. Soon we can give all local children the nutrition they need on a daily basis”
A nonprofit named Charity:Water did an excellent follow-up video of a 9-year old girl’s donation of $240 that spurred $1.2 million more in donations following her tragic death in a car collision. Watch Charity:Water’s video about the little girl who could, Rachel Beckwith.
People who give to Donors Choose are greeted with an evolving thank-you screen on the home page where kids thank them for each specific gift – be it a computer or projector. They even mail hand written letters from the kids that benefited from the donation to the giver in order to say thank you in a very personal way.
Good cause marketing is all about great ongoing storytelling packed with emotional triumphs and challenges everyone can share in.
Timing, Format, and Other Loose Ends of Donor Thank Yous
When money comes in, a thank you letter or email needs to go out within 48 hours – the industry standard for courtesy, appreciation, and the chance to encourage more giving in the future from this donor.
The alleged bible for writing donor letters is Donor Centered Fundraising by Penelope Burk. In it, you’ll find many samples and formats to try and tweak within your organization.
Finally consider picking up the phone and calling to say thank you. Penelope Burk says her research shows that 90% of donors never receive a phone call from their favorite charities unless they’re asking for money. What an opportunity to turn that around to building a stronger relationship.
Are you inspired to polish your fundraising now?
Mail is still first class in the eyes of 73% of consumers in America who still prefer to receive direct mail for brand communications. So despite all the press and pixels that social and email marketing get, direct mail is still tops in the eyes of consumers.
Despite the exposure of digital channels, direct mail is expected to grow 1.4% annually for the next five years to $13.8 billion.
Personalization Makes Direct Mail Even Hotter
Companies that gather data on customers who segment the information into relevant marketing communications delivered via variable data printing win big with double-digit responses.
If you are a marketing leader who invests in direct mail as a channel, do you consistently ensure what you send out is variably printed and designed? Consumers expect communications to be relevant across all channels, including direct mail.
Discover credit card company targets its list based on different customer attributes and then tags each piece with a personalized invitation number. “Direct mail is a great way for us to target consumers,” says Laks Vasudevan, Discover director of acquisition. “It’s our most targeted platform.”
Pull the Trigger
DSW sends personalized birthday postcards with offers to its 20 million plus rewards members. Who wouldn’t want $10 off a new pair of shoes as a gift to self?
And there’s something special about getting a real card with physical value versus a mass email with fashion tips, according to Kelly Cook, DSW’s Senior Vice President of Marketing.
When the company tested sending birthday coupons via email, it didn’t perform nearly as well as direct mail.
Give Your Customer What They Want When They Want It
Long gone are the days of sending one universal offer to everybody. For instance, I recently received a special offer for a college loan for my children from my bank. Yet, I don’t have children. I know the marketing team at my bank and I know they have access to some very sophisticated database tools to monitor my account activity and have done a lot of data mining, they failed to connect with me as a valued customer.
Give your customers the perks they want when they want and don’t delay. With today’s 24/7 marketing automation systems, there’s no excuse.
SOURCE:Direct Mail Advertising in the U.S., October 2012, research report by IBISWorld.
SOURCE:“Direct Mail, Evolved,” by Dianna Dilworth of Direct Marketing News, March 01, 2013.
Air New Zealand started in the ‘70s but is not stuck in the ‘70s. It knows batch and blast emails are a thing of the past. Instead of sending generic emails about promotions, it sends automated, personalized emails prior to, and upon return, of each of their customer’s flights.
Air New Zealand transformed its entire business in 2004 when if firmly placed the customer at the front of all its processes. The airline started from the outside and worked its way in by first purchasing new carriers, then lower fares, simplifying booking processes, and then shifting to internet sales and loyalty programs.
Sending Customer Emails of Value
Keeping with the theme of putting its customers in front of all processes, Air New Zealand built a powerful pre-flight reminder campaign. The email contained dynamic content that generated three popular messages that made it both pertinent and engaging. First the email included a personal greeting from and photograph of the actual Air New Zealand flight attendant who would be on the traveler’s specific flight. Many travelers would print out the email and show it to their attendant when boarding the plane.
Secondly, the email recapped the customer’s itinerary and lastly it offered a five-day weather forecast, which helped their customers plan and pack accordingly.
The pre-flight emails had an average open rate of 69 percent and an average click rate of 38 percent. The post-arrival emails had an average unique open rate of 62 percent and an average click rate of 40 percent, according to this Silverpop case study.
Engaging Customers with Humorous Video
Air New Zealand also gained customers, laughs, and massive viral exposure on the web with their series of in-flight instructional videos such as this one featuring Richard Simmons or this one using animation.
The animated video brings the safety pamphlet to life using animated versions of Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill and Melanie Lynskey from Two and Half Men. Making the commitment to regularly change their videos and include new stars and cameos keeps travelers tuned in to the safety message rather than sleeping through it.
The airline won awards for its innovative, quirky, and sometimes risqué videos.
Dynamic ROI through Dynamic Content
I can’t rave about Air New Zealand’s dynamic publishing push in its marketing because I don’t believe it or any domestic airline currently employs variable data printing. However, the possibilities for VDP in airline marketing is ripe.
Airlines could print custom booklets or magazines for all its platinum level members and populate them with articles on their favorite vacation destinations, favorite sports, favorite wines and the like. Imagine the loyalty that could be built by stroking the egos of men and women who fly 200,000 miles a year by handing them a magazine filled with the their name and family member’s names in print as well as content on everything of interest just to them.
How is your company dynamically generating your email and print content? Are you making your content personality rich or is it the equivalent to a fast-food restaurant’s hand washing training video?
Have you ever felt discouraged by data? Well never again! Today’s marketing is all about reaching your target market in an effective way. Whether that is by email, direct mail or social media, you need to target your communication and personalize it to the individual through data. However, collecting and analyzing data can be so overwhelming that soon you could be buried by it. So the big question is how do you begin collecting adequate data to reach your target market?
While you may aspire to have the marketing sophistication of P&G or an Amazon.com, there are steps you can take to get started right now. Jeff Hayes, President of Info Trends, shares 8 points.
1. Make an inventory of your customer touch points.
Look beyond your customers’ age and gender. Dig deeper to find what really makes your customers tick. Collect data on how often your customers shop, what their average purchase is per visit and how long your customers spend in your establishment.
2. Figure out what data you have, what data you need and how best to collect it.
All fantastic marketing campaigns start with a game plan. Establish what data is already being collected by your P.O.S. or other systems, and then analyze it. Once you know what you are collecting, it is time to establish what you would like to know about your customers and then devise a solution to collect that data.
3. Collect and compile your data for on-going analysis.
The more data a company can gather and know about their customers, the better! In the beginning, make sure you data is compiling accurately to your analysis system. You do not want to waste time or data by not being able to format it correctly.
4. Analyze your data and develop a market segmentation scheme.
“Developing a new market segmentation scheme requires a structured process that yields actionable results. A new market segment must respond differently to variations in the product, marketing, and distribution mix compared with other customers in the market.”
5. Test various messages and promotional offers, and measure the impact.
Survey or interview your customers. A company cannot reach their customers if they do not understand their needs or desires. Send out different types of flyers and discounts to measure the response rate to each promotion.
6. Continue to refine your data collection, analysis and messaging.
“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Hardly any project runs according to plan. Take the time to smooth out the bumps and get rid of the dead weight.
7. Get senior management involved – there will be cost and may be some internal “turf” issues that need to be resolved, plus you want their buy-in when the data challenges traditional assumptions.
The last thing you will want to do when working on a new campaign or project is to step on anyone’s toes. Talk through your plans and processes to make sure everyone is on the same page. This way the chances of a dispute are held to a minimum.
8. Consider working with an agency or consulting firm, especially to help you get started.
You don’t know everything and that’s okay. It is alright to reach out and ask for help. Smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from other people’s mistakes.
SOURCE: Market Segmentation, Info Trends, 2013
SOURCE: Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan, 2005