The Digital Lizard Blog

Beyond the Salutation: Clever Uses for Personalization

Posted by Janice O'Driscoll on June 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM

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Personalization of names has become ubiquitous. So much so that most people don’t even remember getting mail addressed to “Occupant,” “Homeowner,” or “To whom it may concern.” Yet, that’s how things were not too long ago. What was once impressive has now grown tiresome, as simply repeating a person’s name throughout a piece shows that you know nothing about them.

Today’s best marketing campaigns seek more. More ways to engage, entice, excite, and drive purchases. And more ways to make the customer connection valuable. Good data is key. But even if you lack depth or detail, there are plenty of creative personalization opportunities that can get your brand noticed. Here are a few ideas:

Personalization Tactic 1: The Address Block
Startups and small businesses can struggle when it comes to marketing. Budgets are tight, and few funds are actually earmarked for the cause. Add to that, customer databases can simply be the fishbowl-collected business cards or local carrier route list secured through the local post office.

But all is not lost. In either case, you have an address block, which is still quite useful. If you’re a local business, digital print personalization can let you add a map that shows directions how to get to you from a recipient’s location. Or you can use shots of local or city landmarks to provide for a feeling of closeness and relevance. If you’re national, personalize imagery (or products offered) with themes that make sense to the region. Your best bet might be seasonal, using historical weather data to market the most-bought products at certain times. Segment your mailing or catalog accordingly. Us southwesterners always get a chuckle when direct marketers offer us ice scrapers and snow boots.

Personalization Tactic 2: Purchase History
With today’s web tracking, too many companies barrage customers with offers for something they’ve browsed but did not purchase. Ads will show up in social media, gmail and yahoo accounts, and as banners on sites visited. This can get annoying, especially if you’ve already decided against the item browsed. It’s far more effective to work with data on actual purchases because you know the customer actually buys in.

Set parameters in your database to trigger offers for “complementary” products or services, or — if the purchased item is expendable — a timeline for replacement. If your customer bought a dress shirt from your catalog, follow up with a postcard featuring ties, slacks, suit jackets, or dress shoes (or even an offer for tailoring). If they bought organic cleaning products, nudge them with a flyer touting your other eco-friendly wares (printed on recycled paper, of course). Your product or service offering will vary, but you get the idea. And you can always opt for a simple, personalized thank you note for a sale. If you need more ideas, Digital Lizard marketing professionals are happy to collaborate.

Personalization Tactic 3: Loyalty/Rewards Programs
According to Invesp, acquiring new customers costs five times as much as retaining existing ones. So focus a tight marketing budget on loyalty, rather than first-time incentives. And use the opportunity wisely. Don’t just ask for names and addresses at sign-up; collect birthdays, anniversaries, family information, product/service interests, hobbies, favorite color combinations, and more. Offer a freebie if they email a pic of themselves using your product, and get their approval to use that photo. Then, personalize your rewards mailing with their pic, unique information, and an offer that best fits their data. Design your piece to allow color panel variability, and use their favorite combination for added effect. You might strike a chord you never thought possible.

Certainly you won’t be able to learn everything about your customer from a program sign-up. So collect new data at every interaction. Include a mechanism for response on everything you send (digital and print), even if doesn’t create a direct sale. If you’re a restaurant, get food allergy information. If you’re an athletic store, get favorite sports and activities. If you’re a realtor, car dealer, or tax professional, figure out information customers want from you in between your longer sales intervals to keep you top of mind. Dates/events can also be prime personalization fodder, so consider annual occurrences, and determine what might be relevant to your audience (races, holidays, local celebrations, back-to-school season, elections, etc.). The deeper your data, the more creative your marketing possibilities!

Ready to create a more effective variable data campaign? Need more ideas or help with your database? Contact Digital Lizard today at 1.866.494.6155 or click below.

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Topics: Personalized digital printing