Get personal with print marketing

John Foley
President/CEO, InterlinkOne

To get the full benefits inherent in a personalized marketing initiative, it takes more than just finding a printer with digital equipment. Today’s print, fulfillment and direct mail service providers are quickly transitioning to offer their customers value-added ser­vices. Variable data printing, print-on-demand capabilities, cross media and multichannel marketing allow you to take full advantage of everything per­sonalization has to offer.

The caveat is that, in order to be effective, these services all need to be integrated. If you have only silos of data, it doesn’t work.

For example, take a personalized direct mailer and combine it with a per­sonalized URL. In doing so, you have integrated the marketing message from the direct mail piece to the Web, where you can track responses and obtain data from a customized form that visitors fill out. When they respond, give them something back. Generating a piece of fulfillment based on how they answered certain questions keeps the engagement going and helps close the sales cycle.

A true marketing campaign is more than a single leg. Everything must be connected to be effective — from banner ads to direct mail campaigns to e-mail blasts. When a lead comes in from any one of these marketing vehicles, the campaign should be able to execute yet another personalized piece.

There are print service providers that truly understand marketing. If you look beyond simple personalization, you can find a print partner that can help you manage your marketing database, create pieces that deliver better response rates, and realign and remarket based on information captured from each market­ing piece you send out.

The days of spray and pray are gone. Your customers are telling you what they want. Make sure you have the tools in place to effectively listen.

Maintain a customized print conversation with your customers

Chris Ryan
COO, Direct Group

The latest database technologies allow you to drill deeper and develop more finite and sophisticated segments determined by demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioral variables. These data are invaluable in creating time-sensitive “trigger” mailings, which represent one of the most effective direct marketing options available.

Trigger mailings leverage life events, such as a move or a retirement. As with any highly personalized DM piece, the in-home delivery date is the key to suc­cess. For example, if you want to target new homeowners with your product or service, you should be using data mined from moving company Web sites, mortgage applications or realtor data. The key is to get this type of piece into the moving family’s hands at precisely the right time — often integrated with advertising programs — to trigger action on the offer.

Some of the latest advancements in digital color printing technology also help orchestrate highly personalized, variable print-on-demand marketing pieces and Web-to-print marketing solu­tions as part of an integrated campaign.

For example, a large insurance com­pany can offer its sales force pre-approved marketing pieces online that can be cus­tomized and coordinated timing-wise with other marketing activities in the field.

The technology we now have gives us an impressive ability to help clients mar­ket to consumers at times in their lives during which they will be most respon­sive. And, when a consumer’s reaction to a marketing piece is, “They get me,” higher response rates are sure to follow.

The right trigger techniques make for highly effective personalization programs

John Berger
SVP of business development, Visant Marketing Services

Personalization is a highly effec­tive direct mail strategy with great poten­tial to reach the right customers, build loyalty, drive sales and increase ROI. Yet, personalization can easily backfire if it crosses the line and infringes on the con­sumer’s right to privacy. Direct marketers need to differentiate between customiza­tion and personalization.

Personalization takes information willingly supplied by consumers about lifestyle and shopping preferences to cre­ate highly specific offers. Personalized self-mailers, for example, can carry a discount card that can be activated online or at a store, where communications with the consumer can be repeatedly exchanged.

These paper-based cards can carry a magnetic stripe, bar code or both, and can become the vehicle for ongoing engagement during purchases on the Web or at the point-of-sale at a retail store. Personalization done correctly allows the consumer to connect the dots themselves, without feeling that their privacy has been compromised.

An appropriate use of personalization would work like this: An intelligent card in a self-mailer offers a discount on a car seat to a couple with young children that recently purchased a car noted for safety. However, that offer crosses the line if it explicitly urges that couple to purchase a car seat for their three-year-old girl, which the marketer may know from other data sources.

Used responsibly, personalization executed with next generation self-mailers represents a unique opportunity for clients, ad agencies and their printers.

Successful personalization relies on in­formation used responsibly by marketers


Anna Chagnon
President and CEO, Bitstream Inc

As marketers face increasing demand from clients to execute targeted campaigns with significant return on investment, efficiency in the produc­tion process and reporting on response rates is essential. Today’s variable data publishing (VDP) technology helps marketers meet this challenge by creat­ing a template design for print or e-mail that can be easily targeted to individual recipients. From an original design framework, marketers can automatically vary all content elements, including text, images and artwork.

Today, VDP software is used for direct mail campaigns, promotional materials, e-mail blasts and personalized Web sites. Even better, more advanced VDP packages offer dashboard tools that provide a comprehensive look at cross-media campaign results — usually charts viewable in your online browser.

The combination of easy-to-use VDP software and powerful campaign tools can deliver compelling, personalized communications that maximize market­ing efforts and increase response rates.

VDP software can be used for a range of marketing purposes, includ­ing creating enrollment materials for schools, insurance companies and even cruises; leveraging branding efforts; increasing retail traffic; and collecting customer information.

Over the past year, there has been a push toward using a Web-to-print store­front to simplify the ordering process for customized marketing and business documents. Users can select a docu­ment template, specify customizable content, upload a mailing list, or pur­chase one by selecting ZIP codes and demographics all from an online site that is accessible 24/7. As the popularity of this type of workflow has grown, so has the need for a software suite that can integrate with CRM, business and production systems.

VDP technology can help marketers looking for ways to be more efficient when producing all things variable to meet that goal.

More marketers are integrating soft­ware with production workflow systems

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