IBM's Personal Touch (711 words)
by Bob Hacker
A hometown newspaper editor once told me the key to his success was remembering that people like to see their names in print. It's true in our business, too—and a recent record-setting program for IBM Printing Systems proves the point.
The new IBM InfoColor 70 uses digital technology to produce variable-image four-color printing that can knock your socks off. We designed our program strategy around that fact—and took full advantage of the opportunity to show prospects their names in print.
The Target Market
IBM Printing Systems' target customers fell into two segments—printing companies that actually run the presses and agencies whose clients could benefit from digital printing technology. Because the highest use of personalization in any printing application is in direct mail, we targeted printers and agencies who serve direct mail clients (not a difficult task in view of our burgeoning industry). We customized our package for each market segment.
Obviously, printers and agencies shuffle through a lot of printed materials coming through the mailbox. Our job was to make sure they stopped shuffling when they saw our package.
The Offer & Package
We combined the human need to stroke the ego with those good old basic emotions—greed and curiosity. First, we elicited prospects' expert opinions in an important industry survey. Then we offered them a free book, "The One to One Future" by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers. Finally, we tweaked their egos and their curiosity by inviting them to engage in a little fantasy exercise which would pay off in a printed piece created exclusively for the individual responder.
Here's how the mailing was set up:
The Envelope: We mailed a corporate 9˝ x 12˝ envelope first class. Personalized laser addressing eased it past the gatekeeper.
The Letter: Again, we used IBM's corporate letterhead with a two-page, one-sided personal letter. The copy led with a request for professional assistance in an industry survey sponsored by IBM. The book offer was augmented with a white paper report, "The Future of Personalized Printing," which we created specifically for the program.