How NOT to Personalize a Document

Posted by on 10 Dec 2010 | Category: Hints & Tips

A great article by Heidi Tolliver-Nigro at The Digital Nirvana:

In a classic Seinfeld episode, the comedian joked, “There’s good naked and bad naked.” So it is with personalization. There’s good personalization and bad personalization.

The goal of personalized communication, whether it’s in print or email, is to create a message that is relevant to the recipient and engages the recipient in a relationship with the marketer. While some may think that more personalization is  better, that’s not always the case. You have to be careful what and how you personalize.

I got a personalized contact today that unnerved me out and made me want to immediately end my relationship with the sender. If it had been from a marketer rather than a potential client, I would have.

The sender is a someone who, as part of his ministry, is beginning to send out daily inspirational emails.

The first contact was a welcome email, addressing me by name. Nicely done. Although adding names to emails is easy these days, I appreciated the extra effort.

The next day, I received my first daily email, which could be accessed using an email link. Clearly, he was tracking responses. So far, so good.

The next day, I received my next daily email. I didn’t have time to read it, so I left it unopened.

Today, I received the daily email and gasped.

Dear, Heidi.

You haven’t read your last lesson so this is a reminder to login and read your latest lesson below.

Agh! Personalization gone amuck.

First, there had only been 24 hours between the initial email and the reminder. Then there was the issue of the wording. I am tracking you—watching you from afar—so I know you haven’t opened the email yet. You signed up to read these, Heidi, and since I’m monitoring you, I’ve noticed that you are slacking. Get on the stick, girl!

That may not be what he intended, but that’s what he wrote.

It drives home just how important it is to think through how, when, and why you (and your clients) contact customers and prospects with personalized information. How is this personalization being used? How will it be received by the target? Will it be welcomed as a relevant, helpful communication? Or will it make them feel invaded?

Remember that personalization, on its own, does little. Done wrong, it actually can be harmful. Personalization is simply a tool. Be careful how you use it.

Direct mail provides ’solid ROI’

Posted by on 17 Sep 2010 | Category: Industry Trends

by Mark Haslan

Arriving home_00

Though businesses now have more communication channels to reach consumers than ever before, marketing expert David Jackson recently argued on Promotion World that direct mail marketing is still an effective way to generate sales.

Jackson asserts that a properly executed direct mail campaign still provides a "solid return on investment." Citing a recent study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, he says that direct mail marketing expenditures are expected to increase by more than $1 billion during 2010.

Consumers are also eagerly welcoming the influx of mailers. Referring to the same study, Jackson claims 79 percent of U.S. households either completely read or skim through direct mail messages sent to their homes. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by postal automation firm Pitney Bowes found that consumers still prefer physical mail over digital communication channels, relays the source.

Consumers are especially accepting of postal messages containing confidential statements or new product announcements. Jackson writes that

  • 73 percent of respondents prefer direct mail to receive information about new items,
  • while 86 percent would rather receive private communications through postal mail.
  • In both cases, consumers reveal a strong preference for postal messages over digital mail.

Pitney Bowes’ survey also indicates that

  • 31 percent of mail recipients tend not to throw away unopened postal messages, ranging from brochures to envelopes,
  • whereas 53 percent are likely to delete unopened email messages.

Additionally, many consumers find direct mail to be less intrusive than unsolicited emails and phone calls.

  • Nearly half of respondents (43.2 percent) said direct mail was more convenient,
  • while 30.2 percent indicated the sales environment was less high pressured.
  • This translated into greater responses overall, with 12 percent claiming direct mail was more persuasive.

"If you haven’t considered trying direct mail, maybe you should. A properly executed direct mail campaign combined with online marketing methods could be an unbeatable combination," Jackson wrote.

The effectiveness of direct mail marketing has caused many businesses to adopt the channel. According to a recent report from the Global Insight Analysts, direct mail expenditures are expected to hit $25.45 billion globally by 2015. The firm cites direct mail’s physical presence as its biggest selling point, especially in comparison to digital channels.

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