“But you don’t understand me.” This customer refrain is far more common than many marketers realize. And yet, understanding your customers and creating personalized engagements are key to building loyalty, sales and profits.
Consumers’ relationships with retailers and brands are no different from basic human relationships, according to a recent Forbes article E-Commerce Sales Will Explode This Holiday Season, Putting Retailers’ Online Strategies To The Test by Pamela N. Danziger, a senior contributor on retail. Simply put, everyone wants to be understood, and marketing organizations reap the rewards when they achieve that goal. Danziger points to a recent Redpoint survey indicating that 70% of holiday shoppers would shop exclusively with retailers and brands that personally understand them.
Easier Said Than Done
There are a lot of complexities in creating a personal experience with integrated, customized messaging delivered in a timely manner through print, online and in-store. Many fall woefully short, with Danziger pointing to three frequent frustrations uncovered in a Harris Poll:
- Sending offers for a recently purchased item (34% rated as very frustrating)
- Sending irrelevant offers (33% rated as very frustrating)
- Failing to recognize them as existing customers (31% rated as very frustrating)
The same poll also indicated a big payoff for those marketers getting it right. Almost half of respondents said they are more likely to make their holiday purchases from merchants that send them relevant, personalized messaging and offers. The reason is pretty clear: personalized content helps prove that you understand your customers on an individual basis.
Data: The Alpha and Omega of Personalized Marketing
Becoming data intelligent is essential. Raising the sophistication of your marketing campaigns requires having a broad knowledge of what is available and knowing how to put the tactical elements together in a sound campaign strategy. A key starting point is to develop a data intelligent marketing organization. The more complete, accurate, up-to-date, integrated and accessible your data, the better the outcome of your omnichannel campaigns.
Actionable data exist in most organizations from a multitude of sources, including purchases, subscriptions, contests, surveys, special acquisition programs and more. The problem is that the data often reside within silos rather than in a consolidated, actionable data warehouse. Multiple databases and data sets are difficult to manage and present real challenges in extracting the data’s value. So, start your internal efforts by getting your data in order, including a plan for how you want to deploy it.
If your initial data is incomplete, you can enhance it through the use of a data aggregator, which is a service provider that collects and compiles data from individual sites to sell to marketers. Some of the services offered can profile the demographics of your current customer list and allow you to create more targeted prospecting campaigns.
Keep up with Personalization Technologies
This is especially true for print, where marketers often regard print technology as unchanging. The truth is that new technologies are being introduced or taken to more sophisticated levels every day. That’s particularly true among data-driven technologies, which keep enabling more complex levels of personalization.
For example, we all know that digital variable data printing technology allows you to personalize every word and image on a page. Yet technology such as XM®PIE uImage® software takes you a step beyond. You can create attention-demanding communications that build readership and response by embedding text within images and images within images.
For instance, instead of a boat dealer using a static image of a boat in a direct mailpiece, the dealer could include a variable, personalized image where the model changes based on a recipient’s preference and the recipient’s name is engraved on the boat’s side. The process is as simple as creating a template within Adobe® Photoshop® or Illustrator®, and then using the system’s uDirect® or PersonalEffect® tools to generate and place a set of individualized images directly into the print stream.
Another example is mapping technology. We’re all familiar with the generic location maps that show the store nearest you. They’re useful (and a form of variable data), but you can do so much more.
Current mapping technology now enables you to create maps completely individualized for each person on your mailing list. You can show them the exact route from their homes to your store while including any of these options:
- Start/Stop icons
- Map size and shape
- Line color and thickness
- Travel time and distance
What’s more, the whole process is simple and relatively inexpensive. All you need to do is submit your file on a spreadsheet, and the software creates the individualized maps that are then produced on the fly during the digital printing process.
Cost Saving Side Benefits
While there is obviously some expense to creating more personalized campaigns, the very nature of superior targeting tends to bring about efficiencies. In the case of postal mail, you can significantly reduce your mail circulation, and nothing is a bigger cost factor than postage. And if you believe the adage “expensive is what doesn’t work,” then the far superior campaign results from more personalized engagement deliver the real payback in higher response rates, better conversions and greater loyalty from customers who feel you understand them.
Walsworth Can Up Your Personalization Game
We offer a variety of integrated multichannel capabilities, from data services and email marketing to personalized URLS (pURLS), inkjet messaging, mobile barcodes and augmented reality, that complement our print production, fulfillment and distribution services. We can also provide integrated campaign management and reporting to measure performance as well as provide the data you need to help refine future campaigns.
Contact your representative or send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help take your customer engagement to a higher level.