July 2007 e-gram
Why Personalize Print?
More and more, we are hearing about 1:1 printing or “print personalization” (using printed pieces, often with four-color text and graphics, to talk directly to recipients based on name, gender, past purchase history or other information) to achieve higher response rates and better return on investment (ROI).
What’s the real deal with these applications? Is this really a smart marketing approach? Or is it just a gimmick to get you to buy more print?
Consider the way you are being marketed to. When you shop online, you are asked to register so that the site can greet you by name. Cookies follow your every move so that when you return the page views are customized to your purchase or viewing patterns. At the grocery store, your receipt is printed with coupons based on the items you just purchased. When you receive mail from your financial services provider, it contains information only on those funds in which you have invested or that the company is trying to sell you based on your past investment history.
We are used to being marketed to on a 1:1 basis, even if we don’t think about it this way. Personalization has become so ingrained in our experience that we barely realize it anymore. If you aren’t incorporating 1:1 print into your marketing, where appropriate, you are out of step with marketing’s cutting edge.
Then there is the issue of cost. In today’s business world, every cost is increasingly scrutinized. Although marketers tend to think of 1:1 printing as a high-cost luxury, when handled properly, the opposite is true.
- 1:1 printing optimizes your marketing investment by not mailing irrelevant information to the wrong people. It makes every record count.
- Properly tracked, 1:1 printing provides provable ROI, so you can compare its value against other marketing methods and justify your spending based on real numbers.
- By focusing on your top-tier customers and generating higher response rates and per-order values from those customers, you can spend less on print and bring in more revenues.
- More relevant communications (newsletters, bills and other correspondence) increase customer retention and provide a benefit difficult to quantify yet with real bottom-line benefits.
From this perspective, 1:1 printing seems less like a luxury and more like a business necessity.