Who, Me? 3 Best Practices for Direct Marketing Personalization

Have you found a bottle of Coca Cola with your name on it? More than 1,000 first names and 200 last names are included in the “Share a Coke” campaign, which is connecting more people than ever with ice cold, delicious refreshment—and a warm sense of “this was made ‘specially for me!”

Coke’s use of personal identifiers is just one (very high profile) example of how marketers can employ personalization to engage customers and drive desired outcomes, whether that’s buying a soft drink or returning a business reply card.

But take note: personalization is more than just inserting someone’s name into a letter (or onto a bottle)—it’s using your marketing data to deeply target content and offers and build stronger personal relationships with customers and prospects.

We Think You’ll Find This Interesting
Now that we’ve got your attention, we’d like to present some stats from various consumer surveys:

  • 40% said they buy more from retailers that personalize their shopping experience across channels; 41% said they buy more from retailers that send them personalized emails, and 39% said they buy more from retailers that personalize Web recommendations. (MyBuys)
  • Personalized digital ads delivered a click-through rate that was 230% higher (3.3x) than Google Benchmark for rich media creative. (Jivox)
  • Over 84% reported that personalization made them more likely to open a direct mail (InfoTrends)

Do you see why marketers are gobbling up opportunities to personalize across channels? It tells them, “We pay attention to you, we know some things about you, and we think you’ll find this helpful, so please act on it.” Personalization helps keep your marketing messages conversational and relevant, while capturing their interest, to boost response.

How about we share some of our best practices for using personalization in direct marketing?

1. If You’ve Got the Data for Segmenting…
Take a look at the consumer data you have in your various marketing databases. What information can you use to make a more personal connection with customers? It can range from basic to the more sophisticated, like so:

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Job title
  • Geographic location
  • Industry
  • Past purchase history
  • Website browsing history

Think “Customer Segmentation 101.” Your customer data can be sliced and diced in various ways to create deeply segmented lists of customers, from “single women ages 18-32 living in the Florida Panhandle who have purchased multiple bathing suits” to “human resources professionals in US healthcare organizations who have downloaded content about employee communications software.”

2. …Use It To Craft Targeted Offers!
You’ve created a segment, so craft an offer for it. Using the examples above:

  • “Get 15% our cutest summer sandals to match your bathing suits!”
  • “Sign up for our newsletter for the latest HR communication tech news!”

And while you develop copy and creative for you marketing materials, work in the relevant information that you feel will be most effective. The postcard sent to customers promoting the summer sandals offer can reference how much the customer saved with their last order, or how northern Florida can expect to see steamy temperatures through the end of October. Likewise, the HR offer messaging can include statistics about how employee communication software is helping organizations in the healthcare sector.

3. Personalize Your Copy
That is, actually insert personal details like first names into your various message vehicles as shown in these examples:

  • Direct mail envelope tagline/e-mail subject line – John, Celebrate the Big 5-0 in Style! Get 50% your next order of $50 or more!
  • Direct mail/e-mail headline – Louise, our seasonal whole bean coffee sale ends soon. Order your mocha berry mint today!
  • Direct mail and e-mail and salutation – Dear Dr. Walsh or Hi, Mark!
  • Social media advertising – Our crusts are now gluten-free! (Customer recently searched for gluten-free pizza crust recipes)
  • URL – com/customer-name
  • Landing page – Welcome, Ravi! Plus, favorite content or recommended product categories displayed on page
  • Response mechanism – Business reply card or digital response form pre-populated with customer’s info

For insights into how digital music services are using customer data to personalize the listener’s experience, read Amazing Audience Targeting and Response From Today’s Music Streaming Apps.