Personalization - What's In a Name? (869 words)
by John DeMartino
Personalization in direct mail has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings—a recipient's name and address printed on a letter. With the advances in data collection and printing technology, it has evolved into a more sophisticated animal.
Personalization is not limited to keeping in contact with your current customers; it can also be used to sell prospects or fulfill requests from inquirers. Following are examples of how three companies—Mobil, Whirlpool and Crown Mercedes—used personalization in their direct marketing campaigns. Each addresses a different aspect of how personalization can enhance marketing efforts.
Selling and Upselling
Mobil's "Corner By Corner" direct mail campaign had several goals, says Jill Davis, marketing manager at World Color Direct, a division of World Color offering a full range of direct marketing services. The program was targeted not only to reach prospects, but also to reward customers.
Self-mailers from the participating Mobil stations were sent out featuring a sheet of coupons personalized using ZIP code demographics. Individual retailers chose specific station features, logos and a local map, which were imaged onto the printed piece.
The campaign's objective, says Davis, was to "create loyalty by giving customers cents-off coupons, upgrade existing customers to more value-added products, entice prospects to become Mobil customers and get existing customers to try new offerings."
The piece was printed on a web offset press and then imaged on both sides. Responses were tracked through an advanced barcode and database system. According to Davis, the program, "has been very successful to date, pulling double-digit response rates with existing customers and approximately 5-percent response from prospects."
In the past, when a customer would call Whirlpool's 800 number to request information on a specific product, a 208-page product catalog was sent. A caller wanting to know about a certain model of refrigerator had to leaf through the whole catalog to find what she was looking for.