Personalization of direct mail pieces requires a substantial investment, but it may be just the sort of new technology that any lagging direct mail campaign needs in the current economy—including preparing for when things get even worse.
"To really utilize personalization, we're really talking about relevant communication. The more relevant that communication, the better the response rate," says Mike Walther, president of DME, a personalized relationship marketing agency based in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Here are four tips for taking advantage of this powerful technology and making it as relevant to the prospect as possible.
1. Go multichannel
"Multichannel campaigns will outperform non-multi campaigns," states Walther, who gives examples of a PURL and a mail piece or an e-mail with embedded links as multichannel efforts that have worked well for his clients.
2. Be industry-specific
"You really need to understand an industry and the touchpoints and the communication points and the relevance of those communication points to be effective [with personalization]," recommends Walther.
3. Get relevant data
With privacy issues becoming more prevalent, it can be a struggle to get more relevant data. Walther advises that marketers work with their customers to maintain better internal databases. "And then you have to be creative in terms of where you get that information ... the databases of customers [are] a mailer's most prized asset," he asserts.
4. Understand the ground rules about relevancy
Before you begin to use that relevant data, Walther recommends you ask a couple of crucial questions: "What information do we know about the potential customer to make sure that the group that we mail to and the conversation we have is as relevant as possible? And are we going to get too relevant, so they think that Big Brother or a breach of trust occurs?"