Posts tagged personalized printing

VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

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.

wedding VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

 

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

 

pam VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

 

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 used XMPie solutions to personalize each piece of her wedding communications from engagement announcements to her wedding invitations which included QR Codes®*

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

invitations VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

 

 

 

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.

 

6 Tips to Make Sure Your Variable Marketing Project Doesn’t Crash and Burn

148132648 250x166 6 Tips to Make Sure Your Variable Marketing Project Doesn’t Crash and BurnIf your business wasn’t part of the early adopters of variable data printing, this blog post is for you. This piece will keep you far from the technical grenades that can burn you if you don’t prepare your database or file correctly for hand off to your variable partner for execution.

Data First, Creative Second

Start with the data, which seems counter intuitive to agency people and small businesses. According to Kristen Miller, of Mail Print’s Client Implementation Team, successful VDP projects begin with data and then move into the creative process.

Ideally you’ll start with an accurate customer or prospect database/mail list. Ideally the dataset has more than name and address, like age, income, presence of children in the home, purchase history, or frequency of purchases.  Next you can decide what you want to communicate and pick which data fields you’re going to drop into your communication to personalize the marketing piece.

Dear {Name}, We hope this note finds you well.  Since you recently bought {Gift #1}, we thought you would be interested in {Gift #2}.

Prospecting vs. Retaining

Often times mailing lists purchased from list providers can be a great solution when you are prospecting for new clients beyond wanting to personalize a piece simply with someone’s first name. If your marketing strategy is to get St. Louis based, women, 40 years old and older, with household incomes of at least $100,000 to come to a plastic surgery seminar, purchasing a list may make sense.

If you are a plastic surgeon who wants to get existing patients to consider a second procedure or new aesthetic service, using your customer data makes sense. Choose your segment and write your marketing copy and select your graphics to truly speak to that particular group of people.

Maximize the Power of Variable

It can be very profitable to build a marketing piece that uses different images, colors, and messages to match the targeted segment.  The true value of variable data printing comes in being able to tailor a piece to engage a particular segment of your target audience.  Simply playing the “name game” is somewhat passé.  Your goal is to create a highly relevant mail piece so the prospect can envision using your product or service in a particular way.

Beware of Capital Letter Land Mines

If you had a single person input your CRM data, you are probably in good shape consistency wise. However, if multiple people in multiple states have added to the database, you may be plagued with names that should be spelled DeAnna, but may appear as Deanna (first letter capped only) or DEANNA, which often happens off purchased mailing lists.

Fixes for Common Field Land Mines

Miller says she sees several other common “field” related problems with the two dozen large variable projects she produces for clients each month. “Some clients will want to address the prospect by the first name, but their data field is set up as a full name field. There is no clean way to segment out Mr. Glenn Smith vs. Glenn Smith versus F. Glenn Smith.”

Rosanne Kirn, who works on Miller’s team, says another common problem occurs with the company field name. If a data entry person has put Sudsy Soap LLC in the company name but the client wants the marketing piece to mail to Sudsy Soap, you have an immediate problem.

The solution is to build an extra field and name it “Pretty Company Name” or “Variable Company Name” and key in the name of the company without all the window dressing of LLC, Inc, etc.

Don’t Send Unneeded Fields in Your File

Variable data projects can quickly come to a screeching halt if too much data is sent – enough to crash a system.

Miller and Kirn once dealt with more than one million data records from a local retailer. This isn’t a huge number of records until you multiply that by the number of fields, (over 1,000 in this case) attached to that record. Then things can get ugly quick.

Miller recommends reviewing your file and only sending the data fields that are needed to produce the marketing piece. This will keep the tab delimited, .CSV, or .TXT file size manageable and prevent unnecessary delays in your project.

Variable Data Campaign Speaks Direct to Soy Bean Farmers

Mailbox, mail, data, inform, personalizeWith today’s technology, marketers don’t just get to personalize their message; they can personally tailor those messages. The technology is so slick, according to Dave Ward author of Variable Dating Integration – Taking You Wherever You Want to Go, your targeted messages don’t look like highly targeted messages, but like magic.

This magic worked well for PRO Seeds who turned an average farm journal into a marketing vehicle that spoke directly to their farm prospects – literally. Imagine that you run a 1,000-acre soybean operation in Canada. You come in after a hard day of chores, sit back in your recliner, put your feet up and start thumbing through your favorite agricultural magazine.

When you flip to page 12, something jumps right out and grabs your attention. There’s a postcard that is die-cut to look like a bag of soybean seeds – and it has your name on it. You can’t resist peeling the card off the page and finding on the back of the card three soybean seed varieties that are best suited specifically for your farming operation. (If you aren’t a farmer you may not realize that seed selection is specifically tailored to location, climate and soil.  All seeds are not created equal.)

You’re stunned. How could they know which seed varieties would work specifically for you; especially when you raise crops in five different heat zones? Behold the power of Variable Data Printing (VDP) or Variable Data Integration.

This is a true marketing campaign that worked wonderfully for PRO Seeds, who faced fierce competition for acres in Ontario where they only had 4% market share in 2011.

The campaign was a hit with farmers who loved the tailored messages specific to their farm, focus and heat zone. PRO Seeds experienced a lift in sales in regions where they had little penetration prior to this effort.

 

Ready to Harvest Your Clients Using VDP?

The challenge experienced by many marketers who want to execute a highly personalized campaign is the access to and quality of their database. Before executing a VDP campaign such as the one PRO Seeds conducted, you will need the following:

  • You must have the right data in the right fields.
  • Data must be properly and consistently formatted.
  • Data must be accurate.
  • Data must be useable in all of the required contexts.

Take the time to analyze your data to ensure the acceptability and accuracy of all substitutions. Don’t let bad data waterlog your campaign.

Variable Data Printing is a powerful tool that allows us to do some remarkable things, and the PRO Seeds card is really only one example of what can be done to tailor powerful messages for your customers.

In our 24 years of experience, Mail Print has found that VDP projects, should have the following elements:

  • The client or business must be open minded to delve deep into looking at all possible ways to pull the data available or gather the data needed to truly customize the marketing piece to address the customer or prospect on a knowledgeable, and in some cases an almost intimate, basis.
  • The client or business must want to innovate and lead with technology and be prepared for the work and rewards to ensure a successful campaign.
  • The client, agency or business must grasp the full scope – and magic – of what can be done with variable data.  Some campaigns we’ve executed include:
    • making covers of publications specific to each person or market segment;
    • making the tables, graphs, and figures in an insurance explanation brochure specific to that employee based on age, marital status, and worker class;
    • making a plastic surgery image brochure speak directly to the prospect who called in asking about a facelift, not lipo suction.

Like so many other endeavors, the success of any VDP project is as much in the details of the execution as it is in the creativity that inspired it.

SOURCE:  May 2012, Direct Marketing Magazine of Canada

 

Proven Ways to Get Your Email Opened and Your Phone to Ring

Direct marketing is about driving response.  It is about getting your emails or direct mail pieces opened, links clicked, and phones ringing.  As you work on your next direct marketing campaign follow these insights to drive your recipient to action.

How long is too long?

You work diligently scripting and coding your email campaign only to look at your analytics and sigh with disappointment. A meager open rate makes your heart sink. What can you do better the next time around?

You can try a different list, offer, subject line, or send time.  Most email experts recommend starting with examining the subject line. According to Marketing Charts, the length of an email’s subject lines plays a big part in earning a high opening rate. Subject lines of less than 10 characters earned a 58% open rate while subject lines of 50-59 characters earned a 42% response rate in March.

MarketingChartsEmail Proven Ways to Get Your Email Opened and Your Phone to Ring

Survey-related emails had the highest click rate (33.39%) while appeal-related emails had the lowest (14.63%), according to information supplied by Informz. Emails sent in the morning had the highest open rates based on metrics collected from more than 600 million emails sent by more than 700 companies. While emails sent in the morning had good open rates, they also had the lowest click rate.  (Source:  Pure360)

Most importantly, “Tell it, don’t sell it,” according to the researchers at MailChimp. You gain trust and credibility by telling the recipient what’s in his email rather than trying to be clever and sell him. A subject line that reads “April Newsletter from Martha Stewart” will more likely be opened than one that reads, “The Easter Bunny Might Skip Your Home This April.”

You can try a different list, offer, subject line, or send time.  Most email experts recommend starting with examining the subject line. According to Marketing Charts, the length of an email’s subject lines plays a big part in earning a high opening rate. Subject lines of less than 10 characters earned a 58% open rate while subject lines of 50-59 characters earned a 42% response rate in March.

 

Dimensional Mail Gets the Phone Ringing

As featured in the Aug. 2012 Deliver magazine, financial advisor Phillip Board of 1 on 1 Financial got 75% of 40 affluent investors with at least $500,000 to invest to call him based on a 3D direct mail piece he co-produced with his agency, Echo-Factory.

These soon-to-retire A-list prospects, received a black box with a note that read, “We haven’t heard from you,” printed on the outside flap and “We figured your phone must be broken,” on the inside flap. The box contained a cell phone with 20 minutes of talk time on it and Board’s number programmed when the prospect pressed “1.”

The cost of the mailing was more than worth the business earned, according to Board. He was spending up to $7,000 to earn one to two clients and this more targeted, customized, personalized approach was much more cost-effective.

Are you making it nearly impossible for your prospects not to open your emails or pick up the phone because of the offer or what they received in the mail? If not, follow suit with these tips and ideas. Highly targeted, relevant, offer rich emails and direct mail campaigns should be nearly irresistible.

Key Direct Marketing Trends for Nonprofits Revealed

Marketing, Trends, Data, variable, Ethan Boldt, Chief Content Officer of Direct Marketing IQ, the research division of publisher Target Marketing, surveyed and shared the results of direct marketing trends for nonprofits in 2011 with glimmers of trends in 2012. In case you missed his direct marketing trend video post, here is what Boldt shared.

  • Personalization, including Variable Data Printing (VDP) has grown by 6% in all sectors.
  • Freemiums slipped by 14% because of rising postage costs. In 2011 labels were the No. 1 freemiums; stickers were the No. 2 freemium and notepads were the No. 3 freemium.
  • Premiums shifted ranks with the tote bag no longer being the No. 1 giveaway by nonprofits. Now books are No. 1; totes No. 2; and DVDs are No. 3.

Variable Data and Other Nonprofit Marketing Trends in 2012

According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), social media and mobile giving continue to influence campaigns. The AFP shared these additional 2012 fundraising trends for marketers to build the most effective campaigns on and offline.

  • Online and new media channels continue to expand. Online fundraising is up 40% in 2012.
  • Peer-to-peer engagement is vital. Nonprofits should tap into their most vocal supporters who are most likely to influence the giving of their sphere, associations and friends.
  • Donor fatigue is building. Tailored communications directed right at a donor is imperative as information overload builds in the land of social media.
  • Integrated marketing will rise to new heights. Strategic communications harnessing the power of multi-channel marketing is the fuel that makes future fundraising campaigns take flight.
  • Personalization is a must. As Boldt noted, one size fits all approaches are so 80s. Personalized newsletters, direct mail that taps digital printing and emails show supporters you know them.  By showing that you know their preferences in giving and you are able to better ensure your message won’t be deleted or thrown in the trash. See a great personalized nonprofit solicitation below where one fraternity uses the alumni’s name twice as well as pulls in photos that include the alumni.

Personalization, nonprofit, variable data, vdp, donations, fundraising, donor receipts

  • Quality data should take front and center of any nonprofit campaign. He who gathers, scrubs, segments and keeps his data current, meets the fundraising mission fastest, according to Karen Zapp of Pkscribe.com – a nonprofit copywriter. This includes targeting groups on social media, using social analytics, and executing micro campaigns

Want more insights? Click here to read how Mail Print helped one nonprofit clients achieve outstanding ROI for their fundraising campaigns.

 

A few more points from Boldt

An analysis of 40 months of data, from January 2009 through October 2011, demonstrates the growth of personalization/VDP in the direct marketing and mailing process*:

  • In 2009, 28% of direct mail pieces were personalized.
  • In 2010, the number of personalized mail pieces increased to 34% — a 21% increase from the prior year.
  • In 2011, seven of the 10 months recorded saw even higher VDP usage – another 21% increase from the prior year and a 46% jump from the 2009 levels.

*Source: Target Marketing, Nuts & Bolts – Trends: 2011 Direct Mail Trend of the Year: VDP, March 2012.

 

Assurant Employee Benefits Wins Top Industry Sales Award With the Help of Variable Data Printing

Assurant Employee BenefitsCongratulations to our client, Assurant Employee Benefits, for being named a leader in voluntary sales growth by Eastbridge Consulting Group.

Eastbridge recognized Assurant Employee Benefits as one of the industry’s sales growth leaders in 2011 and for exceeding the industry sales average during each of the last three years. Among large companies, those with $30 million or more in voluntary sales, Assurant Employee Benefits 2011 sales increased by more than 13 percent as compared to 2010.

Assurant Employee Benefits works diligently to be a responsive partner who anticipates its customers’ needs and develops targeted, customized solutions to meet them. One area the company focused on was making benefit communications clear, straightforward, consistent and easy.

Prior to the fall of 2009, Assurant printed 11 different, non-personalized employee benefit booklets depending on the employee location, pay rate, and circumstances. Upon receipt of one of these booklets, some employees would have to decipher data tables and do manual calculations to determine their individual voluntary insurance rate. The process was somewhat ineffective and caused lower participation.

Converting from Static to Variable Data

Assurant Employee Benefits decided to tap into the power of variable data printing to customize each booklet and show the rates applicable to each individual employee as defined by age, location, company, pay scale, benefits package and more. This required more than 1,300 text and graphic variables that could be printed and shipped within 24 hours.

To move from static to variable benefits booklets, Assurant Employee Benefits turned to Mail Print to provide the asset management system, print automation processes and print technology that insures each booklet can be printed without errors 100% of the time with no need for further client involvement, downtime, errors or disruptions.

AEB Book1 250x323 Assurant Employee Benefits Wins Top Industry Sales Award With the Help of Variable Data Printing

A Turnkey Variable Solution that Converts More and Costs Less

Assurant Employee Benefits’ IT team worked closely with Mail Print and made the commitment to test hundreds of variable combinations before the new variable benefits product could begin production. In the testing process, a book had to be built to reflect every possible combination of graphic and text asset. Mail Print also worked with two outside ad agencies to acquire compliance-related and creative assets.

The results have been outstanding. Mail Print began producing complete customized booklets for Assurant Employee Benefits’ customers that contain more than 1,374 variable fields and nearly 1,000 graphic and text assets that ship in 24-hours upon order receipt, error-free.

To date more than 400,000 benefit booklets have been produced for Assurant Employee Benefits. This communications upgrade, as well as many other internal enhancements, helped to increase the voluntary benefits enrollment rate by 5 percent the first year and 13 percent the second year.

“When Assurant Employee Benefits launched its expanded suite of voluntary, or employee-paid, products in 2010, our goal was to make these coverage options accessible to more employers and their employees,” said Tim Knott, senior vice president of strategic markets and product management. “We’ve met and exceeded that goal, as demonstrated by the Eastbridge sales report findings.”

What Can Variable Do for You?

Variable Data Printing generates response rates 3-10 times higher than traditional efforts.

Gina Danner, CEO of Mail Print shares this insight, “When marketers are able to share specific information with specific individuals – much like Assurant Employee Benefits was able to provide employees with the exact rates and the specific benefits available to them – they are able to increase engagement.  Essentially with VDP, marketers make it easier for people to buy.”

Interested in learning more? Download this VDP report compliments of Mail Print.