Midyear Ins and Outs
Everybody reads those quirky "What's In/What's Out" lists that reappear in the media each year. This got me thinking about direct mail. As you know, effective direct marketing is an ever-bubbling pursuit that continually erupts with new ideas and technologies. As direct marketers, we keep a close watch on what's working-and what's working even better-for nonprofit and for-profit clients in a range of industries. Some techniques that enjoyed IN status last year are definitely on their way OUT in 2009, simply because new approaches and new technologies are achieving better results. Here are a few examples:
OUT: Postcard Blah.
IN: Postcard Wow!
With versioning, you drop in a name and address. With variable data printing, you drop in a name that counts (the recipient's) on top of a relevant image. You've gone from blah, blah, blah to rah, rah, rah!
As a direct marketer, you've probably used versioning to personalize addresses and salutations. Typically, versioning sheets are run in mass quantity off a commercial press and personalized later on a digital press. There was a period when versioning was pretty revolutionary. But over time, even with a Dear John, both we and our customers got bored with the notion that individuals on our list are merely part of a group, and every piece to every person looks the same.
Variable data printing has changed all that. With VDP, every piece of the message is a nomination for change: the image, the copy, the addressing, even locator maps.
OUT: PURL Plain
IN: PURL Punchy
Plain personalized URLs used to be fresh and interesting. Today a PURL alone won't necessarily pull. What's the twist? It's simply called putting the Personal and Playful in PURL, beyond using their name in the URL. If engaged in something that is both fun and perhaps related to their job function, then chances are better that they will respond.