Late last year, NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information featured an article to help marketers deal with the multiple wants, needs and interests of today's sophisticated — and picky — health care consumers. The researchers talked about the value in customizing health messages, as well as two ways to do that:
- Message targeting aimed at population subgroups who share characteristics (for example, recent college graduates in emerging careers in small cities or physically active retirees living in the suburbs).
- Message tailoring aimed at individuals with very personal characteristics, such as personality factors like coping styles or preferences for thinking extensively about choices.
The report reflects the growing confidence among experienced direct marketers that today's personalized messages get a better response than traditional shotgun marketing. As to the relative benefits of customizing a message to shared or individual characteristics — well, that still "depends."
Marketers eager to find out what message tailoring can accomplish, should consider the following three fresh options for evolving messages from segment appeals to highly individualized appeals.
1. Variable Imaging
This contemporary way to get somebody's attention reaches far beyond using photos with which the person can identify. With variable imaging, the person's name — or address or any data touch point — is IN the image. Because the variables are applied in Photoshop at the time each piece is printed, a particular personalized image is associated only with the precise piece earmarked for a particular individual.
(Note: SkyMall Catalog sells this exact concept — framed personalized images — to individuals for up to $129 per print. It's in demand! Variable images are powerful and they DO boost response rates.)
2. Trigger-based Marketing
Nothing is more individual than a marketing message that appreciates what an individual has just done. For example, today's sophisticated trigger-based marketing systems will automatically deliver a message, depending on how somebody responds to a marketing appeal.