Connect To Customers One-On-One!


A feature in three parts…

Man opening mail

This week we kick off a three-piece series focusing on variable-data direct-mail marketing campaigns. This series will include tips on how to get the most from your data, what to expect from your printer, and how to set-up your design once you have determined the physical parameters of your mailer.

One of the most effective ways to connect with customers is to find them where they live. Once you find them, make a connection. How? By personalizing your message.

63% of U.S. consumers who responded to a global survey63% graphic said that they read printed advertising mail at least once a week when it’s addressed to them and delivered to their home.

People icon graphic 6.3 of 10

Part One: Spring Clean-Up

It is time to get your data in order. Variable-data marketing is simply a marketing campaign piece that is designed with placement markers for inserting a specific element such as a name, product, place, address, or photo. You can even designate background colors and text fonts for specific data groups. The extent to which a campaign can be customized is dependent on how granular the database is.

“Ultimately, the goal is to let the reader know that you appreciate them enough to pay attention.”

First things first – How Is Your Data Being Organized?

How granular is your list? The more categories you define, the more potential you have for personalization. For example, by having a separate field for first name and last name, you can mail your marketing piece to someone’s full name but then address them by their first name only, in your personalized message. This simple distinction makes the message more personal and more effective.

Identifying categories of potential personalization and implementing those categories in your data collection from the start, will save you an organizational headache down the road.

Next – How is your data being entered?

Do you have a defined protocol for data entry? A poorly managed list can end up costing you more of both time and money. Duplicate entries, missing address fields, incorrect sorting designations, and the like can all lead to hours of extra time and money when it’s time for your printer to set-up the data to print. Duplicate entries can also end up costing more postage if not caught in time — every penny counts! If you have multiple input methods (e.g. a team of salespeople doing their own data entry) it is important that those methods are standardized and people with access to the data are trained appropriately.

While personalization is the key to making a connection, it does not need to be over complicated. In addition to using the recipient’s name, other points of contact can include the last product purchased, the date of the last visit to a location or using a service. Ultimately, the goal is to let the reader know that you appreciate them enough to pay attention.

Finally – How Good are you with spreadsheets?

Regardless of what system you use to input and warehouse your customer data when it comes time to hand over your mailing list to your printer, you are going to need to export that information into a spreadsheet that can be sorted, among other things, by zip code. Additionally, the spreadsheet must have a separate column for every personalized data field in your marketing campaign. Further sorting will be needed if, for instance, you want to include coupon codes that provide varying levels of savings based on the duration of loyalty. The more you sort and organize your data up front, the less effort your printer will need to expend to make it all work.

Next week – Part 2: Working with a commercial printer


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