5 Tips for Leveraging Personalization in Your Marketing Efforts, Part 2
In the second and final part of this series on using personalization to create relevant marketing messages, I provide five tips to help your company better leverage personalization to grow its bottom line. For part 1, click here.
Armed with a database that gives you the ability to do strategic data mining, here are five tips for better leveraging personalization:
1. Leverage the best of print technologies. Multichannel retailers, for example, tend to rely solely on the capabilities of longer-run personalization technologies for their catalogs. However, short-run, variable data digital printing enables even greater degrees of personalization. Why not combine the two?
New technologies use an optical character recognition system to selectively insert highly personalized, digitally printed covers, inserts and outserts. The system can be installed on any type of finishing equipment — stitcher, binder or polybagger — and enables you to match up any preprinted, one-to-one personalized piece to the recipient’s name.
The key is in the barcode printed on the personalized preprinted piece. The optical recognition system on the finishing equipment reads the barcode and matches the personalized piece to the publication, which is then ink-jet addressed to the specific recipient at the end of the line.
Digital printing technologies open the door for virtually any level of personalization on a cover or insert. For example, a fashion retailer could use transactional data to present images of new styles that relate to buyers’ past purchases. Or a medical instrument marketer could create a cover or insert that relates to each practitioner’s specialty. Text and images can be 100 percent variable on each piece, so the only real limitation is the data available.
2. Leverage improved ink-jet technologies. Not to be contradictory, but ink-jet imaging technologies also offer far more personalization capabilities for both catalogs and direct mail than most marketers use.
Near-laser quality, wide format ink-jet imaging can be placed in multiple locations in a variety of colors and fonts. You can digitally print archived images as well as variable text to increase lift with targeted offers of special discounts and free shipping; build store traffic with maps and barcoded coupons; or drive web activity with personalized URLs. Combine personalized imaging with involvement devices like dot whacks and Post-it notes or flags for even more personalization.
3. Leverage timing with personalization. Timing is a factor that often gets underplayed in personalized content. Good timing brings out the best in customization; but even the most personalized content likely won't overcome poor timing.
Timing can also play a big role in cross-sell and upsell opportunities. For example, think about car dealerships and how they keep their customers engaged. They don’t want to just sell you a new car; they want you to return for warranty work, routine maintenance and accessory purchases as well. The more they can get you to buy, the more likely you are to regard them as “your dealership,” and the less likely you are to solely shop on price.
That’s why progressive car dealers, generally working in partnership with manufacturers, capture product and service purchase data, then send timely, personalized promotions for everything from service interval reminders to accessories and model-branded clothing.
4. Leverage additional opportunities to use personalization. Think about additional touchpoints where you can effectively leverage your data for personalized content. Are you personalizing your billing statements and order forms, for instance?
Variable data digital printing solutions let you create highly personalized offers. Plus, color is now well established in the marketplace, and many marketers have improved their information management systems to a degree that allows them to support truly dynamic, highly targeted applications for their promotional and transactional printing strategies.
Some argue that electronic billing will dominate and make transactional print strategies moot. While that could eventually occur, the vast majority of consumers still prefer to receive statements via postal mail, even if they pay electronically. There's also no reason why electronic statements couldn’t contain personalized offers. The point is, look for more opportunities to get personal.
5. Leverage a customer profitability optimization model that includes communities of interest, product propensity, customer life cycle and value scoring. This provides a standardized process and framework for optimizing the intelligence from the data at an individual level.
Whatever your strategy, the key is to get started. Develop a personalization plan and keep working your way up the personalization ladder. Each step will bring new benefits and help generate the return on investment you need to justify further investments.
Bruce Jensen is group vice president of sales at Transcontinental Printing, a Saint-Laurent, Quebec-based provider of a full range of print and online personalization services. Rech Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org.