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Best Practices in Personalized Marketing

If you want great marketing results, it’s important to personalize text, images, and other content based on what you know about the recipient. But just dropping in data-driven content doesn’t guarantee success. Sometimes other factors can dull your results. Maybe the offer is great, but the design is so uninteresting that nobody reads it. Or the headline is snappy and the design is great, but there is no incentive for people to respond.

Let’s look at three best practices that need to be the foundation of any personalized print campaign.

·      Traditional marketing rules apply. Even with personalized marketing, traditional rules hold firm. Ultimately, all of the elements — creative, message (including personalization), offer, segmentation, call to action, and incentive —need to come together to determine success. 

·      Focus on relevance, not “personalization.” It doesn’t matter how “personalized” a document is. If it isn’t relevant, it is worthless. Take the shoe market. You don’t want to sell orthopedic shoes to teenagers. You can deck out the mailer with text messaging terms, pictures of X-Games, and use all the contemporary lingo, but it’s not a relevant message unless a teen needs to purchase a birthday present for grandpa.

·      Know your customers, then market to what you know. When the National Hockey League began 1:1 communication with its customers, it asked them to fill out a survey that indicated that 40% of the of NHL’s fan base lives outside their favorite team’s home market. That means these fans can’t easily go to games or access highlights. Imagine the opportunity for the league! So ask yourself, what don’t you know about your customers now that might allow you to create relevance in a more powerful way later? Do a customer mail or email survey. Use what you find out to speak directly to the needs and interests of your customers.

Investing in your marketing database and developing an intimate understanding of your customers takes time, dedicated resources, and manpower, but it is one of the most important investments you can make. Personalization is a powerful tool, but to get the big pay-off, it cannot work alone.


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